Republican Era Photographic Record of Shenzhen Hakka 1921-1928

These 25 black and white photographs (arranged into 5 categories) depict village life in the Langkou area of Shenzhen, taken over a seven year time period. Shenzhen is situated within South Guangdong province and prior to 1997, existed on the border with the British controlled New Territories and Hong Kong. This general area is renowned for its Hakka populations and this collection of photographs record various aspects of life within a traditional Hakka village.

A Lay-Buddhist Hakka Funeral

From a young age many Hakka people join religious groups, be they Buddhist or Christian, etc. This is not because Hakka people are overly religious (as a rule Hakka people are more practical than religious), but rather as an insurance policy for a place to live in the after-life (should such an after-life exist).

Hakka Semi-Circular Round Houses of Meizhou

This bond between the Hakka and their Northern Chinese ancestors is considered a defining Hakka characteristic. So much so that even when Hakka people moved out of China and into foreign lands, when they married non-Hakkas, these outside people were taken back to the old ancestral hall to ritualistically pay their respects to the Hakka ancestors of their spouse, and in so doing, become ‘Hakka’ themselves. This cultural solidarity may well explain why wherever Hakka people have gone, they have brought success to their new countries. As China is affluent and peaceful today, the Hakka people are no longer under threat from attack. They are now legally acknowledged as ‘Han’ people living in the south, and many younger Hakkas have moved out of the round houses, which are now mostly occupied by the elder generation.

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