Guizhou may be a poor and economically undeveloped province with the third-lowest GDP ($3100 USD) per capita in China. However, it is also rich in natural resources and called the "Switzerland of China" for its fresh air and mountainous landscape.
The Karst Mountains isolated this region from outsiders for centuries, as many villages were inaccessible by roads. This helped preserve the traditional way of life of the indigenous tribes-- a rarity in a country experiencing fast-paced socioeconomic changes.
Ethnic minority groups make up 8.5% of the population of mainland China, and they each have their own fabric-making tradition that has been passed down orally for thousands of years. The Miao are the largest of this group, followed by the Dong, Buyi, and Sui minorities -- all of whom continue to live their traditional way of life in Guizhou province. Their beautiful costumes and textiles are collected by leading museum around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The British Museum, and the Musèe du quai Branly.