A Cradle of Daur Ethnic Group

A Cradle Is like a Light Canoe

Slightly your elm-made cradle shaking,
Serenely you sleep, and for you the sun smiles;
Gently your willow-made cradle shaking,
Serenely you sleep, and beside you mum stays,

This is a lullaby sung by the Daur people ever since long time ago.

The cradle, with distinct ethnic characteristics, is a traditional tool used by the Daurs for babysitting. It is like a piece of canoe, hung slightly tilted under the raft of the house. The cradle is often made of elm, willow, or choulizi (a kind of rare wild plant in China) boards and it is 0.9m long, 0.3m wide, and only 0.15m tall. With the head slightly protruding, it is lined with leather inside and decorated with colorful cloth outside. The infant is put inside and bound with leather or cloth belt. Many animal bones and fish bones are hung at the bottom and a long leather belt or string is nailed there as well. When women work, sitting on the brick bed, they may tangle the string around their toes. As soon as their feet move slightly, the cradle sways gently, with bones above striking together and making a rhythmic sound, which sounds like melodious music and mother’s singing at ease, and accompanies the infant into sweet dream.

The cradle hung tilted, the infant seems to be in a standing pose up there. Thus he can find his mother working at any time and see other things so that he will not blubber noisily.