Reimagining the Silk Road
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 2012
Moving from Gansu Province to the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, these women show that religious devotion and fashion are not mutually exclusive. Note that their hair and neck is fully covered by the hijab (gaitou 盖头) and that some wear gloves as well. While their dress is a reflection of their piety, it is equally a protection against the intense sun in Ningxia. It also reflects their own aesthetics and sense of themselves as modern Chinese Muslim women. The woman in the center was a nurse in the 1980s before retiring. Since then, she performs the ritual ablutions on a deceased person in preparation for burial. The event for which the women are gathered is to welcome a new cleric to the mosque. It is a gala affair, including feasting and collecting donations.