Hacka women harvesting rice. | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hacka women harvesting rice.

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Hacka women harvesting rice.

I suspect that this photograph was taken somewhere on the road between Sek Kong and Yuen Long.  Perhaps the mountains will provide a more accurate location. Harvesting rice by hand and using those huge baskets must now be a thing of the past.  Even by 1981, I recall that rice paddies and fish and duck farms were becoming rather an unusual sight. (Andrew S)

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1958


Here's the same scene in 1858 - not much had changed in 100 years!

Harvest, by Admin

That's interesting, David.  I wondered what the tall basket(s) on the modern photograph were for, but the one from 1858 seems to show that it was perhaps a simple winnowing system with the rice grains being knocked off in the top basket and then falling through into the bottom container. Andrew

Yes, that's exactly what's happening. The container on the ground is made from wood, and when full of rice it must have been very heavy.

Thanks David.  Nearly every photograph can tell a story if one looks closely enough.  Andrew

Looking more closely, the bucket in this photo may be more modern than the wooden buckets I've seen in other photos, as the lip looks too thin to be wood. Maybe galvanised steel instead?

There are many vertical lines (ribs?) running down the sides of the lower bucket. I doubt whether steel would have needed any stiffening. Might the bucket be a canvas one with bamboo(?) ribs? That would make for a lightweight and very portable container .

Good point - maybe wood after all, or canvas & ribs.

Gordon saw similar scenes in the 1970s:

Threshing rice, Pui O, Lantau 1970s
Threshing rice, Pui O, Lantau 1970s, by gordonvr


Threshing rice, Pui O, Lantau, 1970s
Threshing rice, Pui O, Lantau, 1970s, by gordonvr