Human Studies Film Archives

Guide to the David C. Graham film of Ch'uan Miao Hill People of Western China, circa 1936

Collection ID:
Graham, David Crockett
circa 1936
No linguistic content; Not applicable
Physical Description:
1 Film reel
14 minutes
black-and-white silent; 450 feet

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Footage shot in southwestern China while Graham was curator of the West China Union Museum of Archeology, Art, and Ethnology at Chengtu. Film documents various customs of the Ch'uan Miao hill people (more commonly known as the Ch'uang Meo) in the villages of Chou Chia Keo and Wang Wu Chai near the borders of Szechwan, Kweichow, and Yunnan provinces. Documentation includes: children and adults in a Miao yard; a do nun (shaman) conducting a ceremony to exercise demons; a mo (priest) conducting part of a funeral ceremony accompanied by an assistant playing a liu shen (six-tubed wind instrument); a trek to a Miao village led by Graham and two legions of school children; Graham's medical associates, W.R. Morse and Gordon Agnew, taking anthropometric measurements and making dental observations of villagers; group shots of Miao women and girls; a village do nun using divining sticks and performing an exorcism; and a funeral ceremony for one of the village women which involves sacrifice of a water buffalo and procession of the coffin. Footage forms part of the U.S. National Museum Division of Ethnology, Manuscript and Pamphlet File, National Anthropological Archives.
Legacy keywords: Agriculture swidden Szechuan, China ; Crops rice cultivation Szechuan, China ; Villages Meo Szechuan, China ; Shamans exorcism Meo Szechuan, China ; Sacrifice water buffalo Meo Szechuan, China ; Funerals Meo Szechuan, China ; Musical instruments flutes Meo Szechuan, China ; Anthropometry on the Meo Szechuan, China ; Language and culture
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.

Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transferred from the National Anthropological Archives in 1983.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
David C. Graham film of Ch'uan Miao Hill People of Western China, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution

More Information
Local Numbers
Local Numbers
HSFA 1983.13.1

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Asia Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
China Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
silent films Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Human Studies Film Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746