Colette Fu

Ashima (Stone Forest)

Colette Fu

Ashima (Stone Forest)



Edition Size



Collage, Photo




Artist Book

$ 2,600.00


View Collectors

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

Pop-up book. Part of the series “We Are Tiger Dragon People
All design, photography, and production by Colette Fu.

With the help of a Fulbright fellowship, photographing for this project in 2008. 25 of the 55 minority tribes of China reside in Yunnan Province and comprise only 8% of the nation’s population, with the Han representing the majority. My mother is a member of the black Yi tribe; her grandfather was Lung Yun, Governor of Yunnan from 1927-1945 and Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Army Group.

The Sani live in and around Stone Forest (the rock sign was carved by the artist’s Great-grandfather) and are a subgroup of the Yi. Their lives are as colorful as their embroidered clothing, and they treasure song and dance above wealth and success. Their legend of Ashima is sung from generation to generation and is an inspiration for Sani women today who refer to it as “the song of our ethics.”

Ashima was a young Sani girl engaged to be married to (her cousin) Ahei. Azhi, the son of the village leader, in a jealous rage, kidnapped Ashima and tried to force her to marry him. Azhi unleashed a trio of tigers to kill Ahei who killed the tigers with arrows and escaped unscathed

When Ashima and Ahei were playing by a river, Azhi used his power to generate a flood. Ashima drowned but Ahei continued to call her name only to hear his own echo. Ashima turned into river stones and her words echoed through the forest: I will never disappear even as the sun and cloud disappear, my soul and my sound will exist till the end of time. Sani people say that Ashima’s suffering is their suffering.