One of the things which I found endlessly fascinating in Kashgar, China was the variety of womens’ dress. In the photo above, you can see plenty of Uzbek ikat-patterned sik in blue and purple. Every woman is either wearing a long skirt or has leggings on to cover her legs. Yet even as you notice this, look at the little girl on the left, she’s in a frilly, flouncy red dress.
Curious, the next day I took myself and my camera to the main square. It took a little time to find a spot in the shade in front of the mosque given that this is where the town elders seem to congregate. They stared a little as I sat there snapping but returned to their own conversations pretty quickly. For all I know, they could have been discussing the people I was photographing walking across the square.
The young women in the photo to the left were most typical of the women who passed by that day. Conservatively dressed in rich but heavy fabrics, heavy tights and with scarves of the most outrageous colors tied back to cover their hair. Many of these women wore the tails of their scarves over their shoulders maybe as a replacement for the plaits that were tied up behind.
I found the woman in the photo on the right most intriguing. Her clothing is very stylish and she’s wearing high heels but the only the upper part of her face is visible. I wasn’t sure if the white mask was for religious reasons or just to keep the dust off.
In the heart of Old Town Kashgar most women are dressed like this: with an overdress and a heavy brown woolen veil over their heads. I had a hard time not staring: how does she see? that wool is not even close to transparent. And check out the pink frilly skirt just showing beneath her overdress and her daughter’s brightly-colored dress and pants. I think this is a woman who likes pretty things. How sad that she can’t preen when she’s out in public.
Information on traveling to China with Children.