Later this week, the World Bodypainting Festival begins in Austria, but last month a similar competition took place in the southern hills of China: Buffalo Painting. Located in Jiangcheng county, the annual International Buffalo Bodypainting competition coincides with the region’s founding. This year marked the 60th anniversary for Jiangcheng, and a total of 48 water buffaloes got “dressed” for the occasion.
The tradition behind painting the animals stems from a local story in which a buffalo was attacked by a tiger. As the creatures fought and struggled in a field, the buffalo became caked with mud and blood. The tiger looked at the buffalo, became scared and ran away. Some local herders began painting their buffaloes to keep predators away and eventually a festival of painting the buffaloes emerged.[see_also]
Each buffalo in the competition was painted by 3-7 artists, with the cash prize for the most beautiful example a sizable 100,000 yuan ($16,042). Some of the competitors are from other countries such as Laos, Vietnam, New Zealand, Finland and Germany. This year, at the end of the harvest themed festival, a group of schoolchildren took home the big prize.