Tapping on beauty

Updated: 2015-03-06 11:41

By Gao Bo(China Daily USA)

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The Tajiks are the principal ethnic group of Tajikistan and northern and western Afghanistan. In China, they are the main ethnic group of Tashkurgan county, the only Tajik autonomous county in the country. Apart from Tajiks, Uygur, Han, Kirgyz and 11 other ethnic groups reside in the county with a population of 39,000, of which 80.9 percent are Tajiks who are predominantly Muslim.

The county, on the eastern part of the Pamir Plateau, has an average altitude of 3,200 meters, but its soil is poor and it has little industry. The Tajiks, most of who survive by farming and maintain livestock, lead a tough life.

But they may soon get more job opportunities -- the county is applying for a 5A top scenic spot classification, to boost tourism and promote its beautiful scenery. The number of people engaged in the tourism industry is predicted to triple to more than 1,000 this year.

The Tajiks form one of the 13 ancient ethnic groups living in Xinjiang. They maintained a distinct culture and folk customs, including the famous eagle dance.

The dance, which dates back thousands of years, was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006. Usually performed by two people, it is a common form of celebration at festivals, weddings or family parties. Dancers stand in a circle, and imitate the eagle's movements, stretching or shaking their arms like wings and accompanied by music from the tambourine and flute.

Tajik typically sport ethnic costumes, especially their round and high cap with floral patterns. They also enjoy wearing clothes with embroidered patterns.