Cal State San Bernardino

China's ethnic minorities featured in CSUSB Anthropology Museum exhibit

The diversity of China is displayed in "Silver and Silk: Diversity and Resilience Among China's Ethnic Minorities," a new exhibit at the Cal State San Bernardino Anthropology Museum that went on display June 4 with an opening reception. The museum is located in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences building, room SB-307.

The People's Republic of China officially recognizes 56 ethnic nationalities (minzu). These include 55 ethnic minorities (shaoshu minzu) and the majority Han Chinese people. The Han make up approximately 90 percent of the PRC's 1.3 billion people, and the 55 ethnic minorities combine to make up the remaining 10 percent.

Guest curator, William Pink, has amassed an impressive collection of photos and artifacts that represent the daily life of China's ethnic minorities through his many trips to the country. "The very first and most common question regarding my work is 'Why?' What is so important about photographing the minorities of China?" Pink said.

During his first visits to the villages of China's ethnic minorities, Pink said he "felt the spirit" of American ethnologist and photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis, who chronicled the lives of Native Americans, as if Curtis was looking over his shoulder.

"I was seeing what he saw when he set out to capture the images of the American Indian before they were driven into oblivion," Pink said. "I was seeing where we, as Native Americans, would have been if we had been allowed to just simply live and blend our traditions with changing times."

"Silver and Silk: Diversity and Resilience Among China's Ethnic Minorities" will be on display through the fall. The museum is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and its hours are adjusted to the university's schedule during the summer, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. There is no admission fee to the museum; parking at the university is $6.