Before the monsoon rains, in Laos and the Laotian areas of Thailand there are many ancient, fertility festivals. These are intended to awaken the spirits to send the rains again, for without the rains, the rice cannot grow. In Dan Sai, a village in the mountains of the North, on the boarder with Laos, they have their famous masked ghost dancers. However, they also have the traditional Mud Dancers. These men strip off and cover the bodies with mud, then, beating a rhythm with thick bamboo poles they dance through the streets. Mud is a mixture of earth and water, the two elements necessary for the rice to grow. The festival is called 'Pi Tak Khon' (spirits in the eyes of humans). They believe that they become possessed by the spirits of the forests and fields and that this ritual will please the spirits and bring the rains. These animist festivals pre-date Buddhism here and survive despite Buddhism, Buddhism being a very tolerant faith.
Critiques | Translate
Sne011 (3084) 2008-07-22 11:04
Interesting story about this custom in Laos. I like the photo, it looks like this guy is really praying for rice to grow or he just enjoys to cover himself with mud :)
Have a nice evening!
Morac (27723) 2008-07-22 11:08
Good evening KÚvin,
It is a pleasure of seeing your photographs.
It is a cultural enrichment of reading your notes.
Thank you for both.
Ozaslan (226) 2008-07-22 12:53
colours, mood on his face,
this is so good..
SteveH (6247) 2008-07-22 20:47
Hi Kevin, Great close up of this mud covered face. Often closed eyes are a problem but in this image I think it adds something. A slightly different crop might've worked, loosing the arm(?) on the extreme right and including a bit more of the body on the left, thereby leaving the main subject slightly less central too. Just a thought. cheers, Steve
ndb1958 (9289) 2008-07-23 10:45
another expressive and beautiful shot from the animist scenery around the raintheme. He really seems to be in a state of deep trance. He looks so strong. Great capture.
rigoletto (34279) 2008-07-23 10:51
This is the most stunning portrait i've seen lately on TE.
His expression looks like a live terracota soldier in ecstasy.
Furthermore, the pp work is great. I love the vignetting effect.
chirasak (2) 2008-07-24 6:16
i would like to call this is sleeping Mud man if you don't mind, i like your portrait look perfect whith face focus maybe you need more blur background for your portrait it's nice shot TFS
tehanu_f (6896) 2008-07-24 6:25
this the most fascinating portrait I've seen lately on TE. were the shoulder on the left a bit more blurry, the man's sharp face would even stand out more, but it is still good as it is. congrats.
siolaw (38292) 2008-07-25 23:35
A good addition to your mud men series, with a close up of the closed eyes man, with only muddy bodies as a BG.We also feel right in the heart of the action.
Greetings from Goa
axiotea (21651) 2008-07-26 0:37
Bonjour mon Ami
Nice POV that makes us feel we are part(but no for women) of the festival! Strong expression of the guy who seems to be meditating! I also like the mud texture.
Have a nice day
maglex (1980) 2008-07-27 17:31
This is a superb capture of htis moment, Kevin. The tone reminds me somehow of the terra cota only this one is alive and I like that deep feeling portrayed on your image and accurately depicts your well written note. Rgds, Alex
riclopes (35577) 2008-07-28 6:27
Very good, Kevin. So close that I actually feel like one of them, melting in this mass of flesh and mud, in transe, possessed...I really like his expression of "sleeping beauty". Great shot from this festival.
dareco (17134) 2008-07-28 7:16
It's always interesting to learn about the many customs and beliefs, this one is quite fascinating. An excellent picture of this man covered in mud, perfect colors and detail. TFS and have a happy day !
RGatward (20066) 2008-07-31 18:47
Anoher fascinating and fine tech shot in the series, which altogether makes an excellent travelogue.
capthaddock (28790) 2008-08-02 11:03
Hi Kevin - Fantastic timing, the details of the caked mud are incredibly vivd and sharp, the entranced expression is priceless.
MarcT (20964) 2008-08-11 12:35
I like this portrait. It's a great one with an excellent POV and nice colours. Perhaps with open eyes but ...
kinginexile (2598) 2008-09-25 23:40
One of your best shots ever, Kevin. the contrast between his apparent dreaming stance and the earthiness of the mud and the ritual itself, gets to the meaning of such event. To reconcile the inner and the outer in a cathartic collective experience where the individual both entrusts itself to the group and sublimizes the self.
PS: More specifically: Should confirm soon arrival in BKK on November 7th. Just in time for Loy Kratong.
fritzi007 (10401) 2009-11-01 12:48
Very large class, very good documentation, congratulations!
- Copyright: kevin o'sheehan (kevinos) (7507)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-07-05
- Categories: Festivals
- Camera: Canon digital EOS 40D
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): The Ghost Festival of Loei [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2008-07-22 9:54