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Holy cow! Live animals given outlandish full-body makeovers at traditional bull-painting festival


By Anna Edwards

Pretty as a picture: A participant in the bull painting festival shows off his artistic skills

With their intricate patterns and bright colours, it is hardly surprising if these curious-looking painted bulls attract close attention.

But the reason behind their colourful hides is actually meant to ward off intruders.

Artistic residents in Jiangcheng County, Yunnan Province, China decorated their bulls for a festival, but the tradition began from a small Chinese group who believed painting their bulls would protect their village.

Art attack! This bull might scare off tigers, but the audience peer in to get a closer look

The Hani minority tale preached that the painted bulls would scare away tigers from wandering into their homes.

And this tradition now gives people the prefect excuse to show off their artistic talents.

Altogether 48 teams joined this year's China-Laos-Vietnam Bull Painting Festival.

With bright blues, dazzling yellows and splashes of deep red and green, these bulls' makeover was a bright change from their usual brown or white skin.

Elaborate scenes of countryside, people, weather and patterns were painstakingly etched and tidily painted, including even the bulls' horns.

That's not your average canvas! This participant painstakingly created a countryside scene on his bull

Bulls eye! This painter proudly shows off his bulls' pattern

The Hani people in China are mainly spread across the counties on the the Honghe River in the Yunnan Province.

They have a population of 1.4 million, mostly engaged in agriculture.

Nearly all Hani People worship the nature, ghosts and spirits and ancestors and follow the belief that everything in the world has a soul.


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