This film is part of Free

Rice Cultivation in the Si-kiang Delta, South China

An exceptionally detailed look at the process of rice cultivation, from planting to harvesting to pounding, in the Xi Jiang Delta, Guangdong Province.

Documentary 1937 2 mins Silent


Rice is the main staple of the Chinese, but its cultivation is highly labour intensive. This fascinating film demonstrates the process from planting through harvesting and pounding. The Xi Jiang (literally “Western River”) Delta, a tributary of the Pearl River whose intricate network of smaller rivers provides natural irrigation for the paddies, is one of China’s major rice growing regions.

The film is an important historical record of the physically-exerting tradition of rice cultivation. Today mechanisation is widespread but here we see each stage of the process done by hand or with the aid of water buffalo and simple tools: ploughing and harrowing, planting seedlings, irrigation, reaping, threshing and pounding the grain. The climate and soil conditions around the Xi Jiang Delta can yield an amazing four crops of rice per year.