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 Post subject: Yao 'celestial crowns'
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:17 pm 
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Following a recent enquiry which I received to help identify a Yao 'celestial crown' I thought that I would share with the forum some of the research that I have since done. I am first posting a photo which Ann Goodman sent to me, to be posted on another thread, to show the striking similarity with designs on minority drums. See thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... 7&start=45 with the Yao celestial crown being the (current) last post on page 4. I was very attracted to the photo at the time and, as I said in the post, had never seen one before. When the enquiry came to me a few days ago the photo rang a bell with me and I also had a sense of seeing photos of the item being worn. Further head scratching - oh my poor memory(!) - brought to my mind the book that I was recently given by Siriol, 'The Yao Nationality' and yes, there were several photos. That then sent me to look at Jess G Pourret's excellent book already mentioned several times on this forum 'The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand'. Now I knew what I was looking for, I found a considerable amount in text and photos in various sections of the book. There is so much packed in that it is easy to pass over things not of immediate interest. So far we don't have permission from Jess Pourret to post images from his book so I am not, at this time, going to do so but I have typed out various, very informative, sections of text much of which forms part of the long descriptions which accompany photos. I would most definitely commend the book to anyone with any interest in the Yao.

I am going to post images from 'The Yao Nationality' because I have not been able to find any copies on the web. It was first published in May 1990 by People's Publishing House, edited by The Nationalities Affairs Commission of Guangxi Autonomous Region, ISBN 7-01-000761-6/D. The text is Chinese and English with bi-lingual captions for the photos.

I don't have one of these 'crowns' in my own collection but am attracted to them. This forum contribution is by way of a 'research' item to share with forum members current and future and as a way of pulling together my own research to date. Oh, and as Nicolas (yuanzhumin) is also keen to learn about the Yao, this is also for him.

As an excellent summary of the Yao/Mien see the second post by Susan Stem on the thread started by Nicolas http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=1257

Jess Pourret identifies the Yao who wear these 'celestial crowns' as the Kim Mun Lantien which are split into two groups, the Sha and the Shanzi. He shows photos of the Kim Mun Lantien in Laos. They may also be found in Yunnan, Guangxi, Hainan Island which have about half the Kim Mun Lantien with a further 100,000 in Vietnam and 80,000-100,000 in Laos. On page 92 re figure 194, he says
Quote:
"The Chinese name Landian or Lantien derives from the indigo dye used for their dress, the dark blue-black being even more distinctive than the Mien because of its less colourful decoration. "..."Mun Lantien women wear their hair fairly long, with a short parting above the forehead, with the rest of the hair pulled back in a bun. Such a hairstyle is necessary for wearing their heavy traditional silver crown, which need a strong base."
On page 93 in information on fig 199 (a black and white photo of 'Mun, Kim Mun, Lantien Sha Yao, Ha Gian area, north Vietnam, early 1920s' he says:
Quote:
"...The main piece, however, is the large silver crown (20cm) worn slanted back with more silver pendants and streamers. ...The Lantien Sha women generally wear their silver celestial crown daily, minus its pendants."


The photos which were sent to me to identify included a textile - a central rectangle of embroidery in a geometric design in indigo with some red on a natural woven base. The central rectangle was sewn to natural, long strands of un woven cotton. On page 93 of the Pourret book there is a photo, fig 200, of woman's clothing from Kim Mun, Lantien Sha, Luang Nam Tha, North Laos. Of these clothing it says
Quote:
"Head-kerchiefs vary among the sub-groups......The four white/blue headkerchiefs are for different sub-groups." On Page 119 in the caption to Fig 265 it says: "Kim Mun Lantien. Traditional cotton headscarves with white fringes. The very dense and incredibly detailed embroidery is always dark blue on white cotton. Used by Lantien Sha women when not wearing their silver crown. Similar headscarves are worn in Yunnan, Laos and Vietnam. The central part is about 20 x 12 cm."
Although it says that the scarves are always of dark blue on white cotton in fig 200 one of the scarves has some accents of red within the dark blue.

On page 128 of the Pourret book there are three black and white photos of Kim Mun Lantien Sha women taken in the 1920s. The caption for Fig 301 says:
Quote:
"Kim Mun Lantien Sha from Motiang in southern Yunnan, photographed in Northern Vietnam in the early 1920s. The Mun Lantien Yao women, like all Yao, have their own headdress. After initiation at puberty a Kim Mun woman may wear a silver crown, the umbrella of 'Fam Tsing', the Three Pure Ones. Its form is always a large domed disc with an eight- or 10-pointed star surrounded by two rows of over 200 silver pins."
The text for Fig 303 says:
Quote:
"Kim Mun Lantien Sha. Photographed in north Vietnam in the 1920s. This woman belongs to the same sub-group as 301 and 302 but her different attire is for attending an important religious ceremony. The crown is covered by a special white cotton kerchief topped by a densely embroidered rectangle in dark blue. Very long streamers hold the headgear in place. She also wears a religious white scarf whose dark blue embroidered ends hang down her back."

Chapter 4 of Pourret's book 'The Meaning of Silver: Tribal and Social Statement' has much more to offer on the 'celestial crowns. On p144 fig 355 the caption gives considerable detail on the crowns:
Quote:
"A Kim Mun Lantien Sha silver celestial crown from Mengla, Yunnan and Luang Nam Tha areas, North Laos. About 100 years old and weighing around 270 gm, it is identical in every aspect to the crowns made today. When a Lantien girl reaches puberty and undergoes her initiation rites, she is entitled to make and wear a celestial crown. The traditional and very ancient custom is common to all groups of Kim Mun Lantien.

The girl spends over two days to assemble the crown once the silver has been obtained. The centre part consists of a slightly domed silver disc around 11 cm in diameter, hammered in low relief to produce a highly chiselled design. A large pin is then fixed underneath for securing to the base of a tightly woven human hair strands made into a thick pad. The central disc is then surrounded by about 240 flat silver pins, each overlapping its neighbour by half. The diameter of the whole is then about 20 cm. Two long slender round pins help in fastening the headdress to her bun. Variations exist among various sub-groups as to the height of the pin vis-a-vis the central star.

Most Lantien Sha women wear the crown daily generally covered by a small indigo cotton kerchief. Rolls of false hair may be used by some sub-groups to add volume to the complete headdress. Kim Mun Lantien Shanzi only wear the crown for ceremonial wear."


Page 164 has a collection of 4 different celestial crowns figs 421-424. There is considerable detail about them. Two are silver and two are aluminium. Three have dates - one silver one given as circa 1900-1920 the other silver one at circa 1920 and one of the aluminium ones estimated at circa 1975.

Now for the fun bit, the photos!


Attachments:
File comment: Yao celestial crown in the collection of Ann B Goodman - note the embroidered kerchief behind the 'crown'
YaoW.jpg
YaoW.jpg [ 63.81 KiB | Viewed 18972 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:33 pm 
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I am posting below images from 'The Yao Nationality' - see full details of publication in the post above.


Attachments:
File comment: Page 105 'The Yao Nationality' 'Landian Yao woman's silver headgear'
p105-tyn-LandianYao.jpg
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File comment: Page 97 of 'The Yao Nationality' 'Yao woman's silver plate cap'
p97-tum-Yao-wmns-slvr-plt-c.jpg
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File comment: Page 43 of 'The Yao Nationality' 'Yao girls'.
p43-tyn-Yao-girls.jpg
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File comment: Page 40 of 'The Yao Nationality' Two Yao women of Mojiang. Both are wearing the 'celestial crowns'.
p40-tyn-2-Yao-wmn-Mojiang.jpg
p40-tyn-2-Yao-wmn-Mojiang.jpg [ 78.48 KiB | Viewed 18964 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:44 pm 
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I have had permission from Jeanee Linden to post the images of the celestial crown which she asked me about.


Attachments:
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:03 pm 
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Pamela and Ann,

Thanks for the beautiful photos. The Chinese text indicates these photos were taken in Luchun County and Jiangcheng Prefecture, Yunnan. Both of these areas are on Yunnan's southern border with Vietnam and Laos respectively.

Attached is p.44 from Yaozu Fushi (Yao Costumes) Guangxi, 1985. The girl on the left is from southern Yunnan. The girl on the right is from the Baise area in Guangxi.

Steven


Attachments:
yao_146w.jpg
yao_146w.jpg [ 87.13 KiB | Viewed 18930 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:32 pm 
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Steven

Thanks so very much for the additional info gleaned from the Chinese text in 'The Yao Nationality' and the photos and text from' Yaozu Fushi' (Yao Costumes) Guangxi. The latter are spot on as Jeanee Linden was particularly keen to know how the textile is worn with the 'crown'.

This is excellent material creating an informative thread. I will be posting some photos from Jess Pourret's book as Susan Stem managed today to secure his permission to post images from his book on the forum for which I am very grateful, not only for this thread but for others in the future.

Best,

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:56 pm 
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I thought I would post two photos from Jess Pourret's very excellent book: "The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand" published by River Books in 2002. I am very grateful for his permission to post photos from the book on the forum.

There are several good photos in his book of the Kim Mun, Lantien Sha. Here I am picking a few of the ones I discussed above in my first post and reference should be made to the text I quoted from the captions to the photos.


Attachments:
File comment: From page 93 of "The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand" fig 200, showing woman's clothing from Kim Mun, Lantien Sha, Luang Nam Tha, North Laos. See quote from the caption in first post above.
p93tY-JP-head-kerchiefs.jpg
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File comment: From page 128 of "The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand" figures 301, 302 and 303. See text from the captions in first post above. 301 shows Kim Mun Lantien Sha from Motiang in southern Yunnan but photographed in N
p128tY-JP-301-2-3.jpg
p128tY-JP-301-2-3.jpg [ 73.52 KiB | Viewed 18919 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:42 pm 
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I could not resist posting another image from Yaozu Fushi.

Another book, Minority Nationalities Costumes and Ornaments in Yunnan (Kunming, 1992), also has a poorly reproduced illustration on page 152 of a "celestial crown". Rather than calling it a "celestial crown", the book refers to it less poetically as a "flower engraved silver head plate" There is an accompanying necklace like the one worn in the photo I posted above.


Attachments:
File comment: Yaozu Fushi p. 48. These women are from Shiwan Dashan, Guangxi and are known locally as "Flower Head Yao". The silver ornament is called a "plum flower hair cover". Both young and old style their coiffure in the same way here. They wra
yao_724w.jpg
yao_724w.jpg [ 72.82 KiB | Viewed 18909 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:44 pm 
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It seems the caption dropped some of my text. Women wrap their hair with the strands of pink thread. They then place the embroidered flower head cover on top of the silver ornament.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Steven,

Thanks. Jess Pourret refers to this group as Kim Meun, Houatou, Thanh-Y Yao. As well as photos of the 'celestial crown' being worn in his book there are very nice photos of a kerchief and cap on page 165, Fig 425:
Quote:
"An aluminium celestial crown, Kim Meun, Houatou, Thanh-Y Yao (Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Vietnam and Fangsheng, Guangxi). This Mun group has a specific crown, common to all its sub-groups. A small skull cap is made out of human hair and a binding agent to which is affixed a large 10-point silver star. It is not set on a background disc like on the Kim Mun Lantien crown. The small central repusse dome protrudes by 7 or 8 mm, while the ten points are chased with various floral motifs. A large silver pin holds the start to the cap. The sides of the cap are surrounded by two rows of large round discs on pins. Originally made in silver, today aluminium is also used for economic reasons. This star is around 8 cm in diameter. The Kim Meun celestial crown is always worn covered by a small square kerchief, brightly embroidered in red and black on white cotton with red streamers wrapped around. On the whole it is worn everyday. Circa 1975."


Attachments:
File comment: Celestial crown and kerchief, fig 425, p165 "The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand" published by River Books - caption above
p165-f425Y-JP.jpg
p165-f425Y-JP.jpg [ 65.89 KiB | Viewed 18896 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:42 pm 
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A couple of weeks ago I was looking at some excellent photoraphs of minorities in Vietnam taken by Tristan Savatier, 'Industrial, Art, Events and Travel Photographer' when he spent a month in Vietnam in November 2005. He had contacted me to see if I could help him identify the people shown in a few of his photos. As I was looking through the general body of his Vietnam photos I was attracted to one of a woman, a market trader, in Bảo Lạc and realised that what I could see, peeping from under an embroidered cloth, was a celestial crown. I then set about hunting through Tristan's photos in ernest and found a whole group of photos showing how the crown is being worn today. I was especially interested to see how the embroidered cloth was also being used in conjunction with the crown. Tristan has given me permission to share his photos on the forum and I post several below. Go to his website http://www.loupiote.com to see his photos and, in particular, a stunning, large group from Vietnam http://www.loupiote.com/sets/72057594049714778.shtml

I will post the group of photos relating to the first woman wearing the crown who caught my eye and then, I hope Tristan won't mind, a few more of girls from the same tribal group, presumably Kim Mun Lantien Sha as described in Jess Pourret's book on the Yao referred to above.


Attachments:
File comment: First of two photos which caught my eye first of all with just a hint of the crown showing under the embroidered cloth
93905235w.jpg
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File comment: Second of two photos which caught my eye first of all with just a hint of the crown showing under the embroidered cloth
93902830w.jpg
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File comment: The crown secured to the hair which is held by several pins - front view
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File comment: winding the embroidered cloth around the headdress frame including the crown
93902761w.jpg
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File comment: back view of headdress showing the crown
93902901w.jpg
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File comment: close-up of detail of crown
93902978w.jpg
93902978w.jpg [ 72.41 KiB | Viewed 18290 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Sun May 20, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Photos of some younger women (presumably Kim Mun Lantien Sha) taken at the same market in Bảo Lạc, Cao Bang Province, northern Vietnam. The crown is not visible in these photos but the shots of the embroidered cloths which 'dress' it are excellent. Also note the ubiquitous machine woven plaid scarfs worn at the neck which so many of the minorities in Vietnam use now in their costumes. I am also adding in a photo of an old woman whom I am sure is also Kim Mun Lantien Sha and will probably have a celestial crown hidden under her purple scarf.

I am indebted to Tristan Savatier for his super photos and allowing me to share them with you. It really is the fun of collection and identification to have a 'eureka moment' as I did when looking at his photos and realised that I was seeing a Yao celestial crown being worn. I assume that this crown shown is aluminium rather than silver.


Attachments:
93903511w.jpg
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File comment: older woman and I feel sure that she is Kim Mun Lantien Sha with a celestial crown under her scarf.
93902641w.jpg
93902641w.jpg [ 72.92 KiB | Viewed 18282 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:23 pm 
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Hello all of you
Pamela, Steve and Ann, many thanks for sharing all these very interesting informations and pictures on the Yao and their celestial crowns.
For sure, I'm learning fast, with one eye on the forum and the other on the Pourret's book.
By the way, I have a question : are these celestial crowns only worn by the Yao or are they also by other of the neighboring minorities ?
Thanks for your help
Nicolas


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:03 pm 
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Nicolas

I think that it is only Yao who wear this sort of crown. There are some variations of crown between one or two different Yao groups. Interesting that they wear them for 'every day' rather than festivals only.

The Miao certainly have a tradition of silver/white metal head dresses and these are often far more dramatic and 'in your face' than the Yao crowns. These tend to be worn for festivals but not every day.

I am attaching some photos from my travels in Guizhou in 2001 and 2005 showing some Miao metal headwear:
1. Miao, Da Zhai village, Taipan township, Taijiang county, Guizhou - May 2005. Definitely festival wear.
2. Miao, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou - May 2005. Again, festival wear. (2 photos)
3. Miao, Lou Jia Zhuang village, Anshun city, Guizhou. Oct 01 I think this is pretty much every day although probably only by older women now.
4. Miao, Bai Jia Po village, Feng Ting township, Luodian county, Guizhou. Oct 2001. These girls wear these head dresses as part of their dance costumes, presumably based on festival wear. I don't know if they may have previously also been worn more every day or not - perhaps without the main disc silver-ware.
5. Zhou Xi Miao, Zhoui Xi Township, Kaili City Nov 2001. Festival headwear although if you look at the first girl on the right and the middle woman I think that their solid metal 'crowns' are (or were) more every day. There was a silver-smith in this village in 2001. We visited again in 2005 but I don't know if the silver-smith was still there then.


Attachments:
File comment: 1. Miao, Da Zhai village, Taipan township, Taijiang county, Guizhou - May 2005. Definitely festival wear.
01812834w.jpg
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File comment: 2. Miao, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou - May 2005. Again, festival wear.
IMGP2848w.jpg
IMGP2848w.jpg [ 78.94 KiB | Viewed 18149 times ]
File comment: 2. Miao, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou - May 2005. Again, festival wear - detail
IMGP2846w.jpg
IMGP2846w.jpg [ 74.9 KiB | Viewed 18149 times ]
File comment: 3. Miao, Lou Jia Zhuang village, Anshun city, Guizhou. Oct 01 I think this is pretty much every day although probably only by older women now.
0110B24Aw.jpg
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File comment: 4. Miao, Bai Jia Po village, Feng Ting township, Luodian county, Guizhou. Oct 2001. These girls wear these head dresses as part of their dance costumes, presumably based on festival wear. I don't know if they may have previously also been worn more eve
0110I29w.jpg
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File comment: 5. Zhou Xi Miao, Zhoui Xi Township, Kaili City Nov 2001. Festival headwear although if you look at the first girl on the right and the middel woman I think that their solid metal 'crowns' are (or were) more every day.
0111I02w.jpg
0111I02w.jpg [ 74.82 KiB | Viewed 18149 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:57 am 
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It seems that the current economic crisis has also taken its toll on this forum. Am I wrong or did I notice a recession in the number of messages posted recently ? :-)
Anyway, I have a question for the forum experts.
So the Yao celestial crown is exclusive to the Yao, with its very special sun motives. But if it is so, I wonder why we can find the very similar motives on the bronze drums of the Miao, the Shu and may be also other minorities.
What puzzles me even more, it is that this kind of bronze drum is not mentioned in the exhaustive Pourret's book on the Yao. So, how come the Yao, whose celestial crown has very close motives, are not using these kind of motives on their drums or even this special kind of bronze drum when, on the other hand, other minorities, that don't have these kind of crowns, do use bronze drums with the related sun motives ?
Thanks for your answers
Nicolas


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 Post subject: Yao crowns
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:34 am 
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To add to the forum library here are two crowns recently added to my collection.


Attachments:
Crw.Yao.10.1_full.jpg
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Crw.Yao.10.1_panel.jpg
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Crw.Yao.10.1_panel_detail.jpg
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Crw.Yao.10.1_crown_top.jpg
Crw.Yao.10.1_crown_top.jpg [ 142.54 KiB | Viewed 15244 times ]
Crw.Yao.10.1_crown_base.jpg
Crw.Yao.10.1_crown_base.jpg [ 81.08 KiB | Viewed 15244 times ]
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