China Adorned Ritual and Custom of Ancient Cultures

Deng Qiyao, Cat Vinton

Combining decades of ethnographic research with stunning photography, this book is a celebration of the customs and clothing of ethnic-minority groups in China.

Aesthetic influences drawn from China have long resonated throughout Western art, design, and philosophy. China Adorned challenges the monolithic idea of Chinese culture and fashion, turning the lens on the rich clothing traditions of the country’s ethnic-minority peoples.

Drawing on more than three decades of research by cultural anthropologist Deng Qiyao, this volume documents and demystifies the customs and rituals of more than thirty minority peoples through their clothing and accessories. Deng’s never-before-published archival photos sit alongside contemporary imagery by photographer Cat Vinton, showcasing the fabrics and jewelry in conjunction with the surrounding landscapes. In the process, the book helps readers to better understand the deep connections between people, place, ritual, and adornment. Contributor essays delve further into the mechanics of these textiles and techniques, the role of the artisan, and the extraordinary resilience of minority material cultures, offering a timely reminder of the importance of preserving these traditions for generations to come.

Part anthropological study, part photography series, this stunningly illustrated collection challenges and enriches our Western perception of the diversity of Chinese culture.


Combining black-and-white archival shots by Deng with Vinton's colorplates, the book is…a visual celebration of [the] brightly patterned clothing and rich jewelry [of] more than 30 ethnic minorities in China.

— American Craft


Deng Qiyao


Deng Qiyao is the director and guest professor of the Visual Culture Research Center of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and the honorary vice chairman of the China Adventure Association. His previous positions include director and active researcher at the Institute of Ethnic Literature of the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences and professor at the School of Sociology and Anthropology of Sun Yat-Sen University.

Cat Vinton


Cat Vinton is an adventure and ethnographic photographer documenting ways of life of the nomadic and Indigenous peoples of the world. She has been published in National Geographic online, The Guardian, Survival International, Oceanographic Magazine, Sirene Journal, and Sidetracked Magazine.