Orochen Forest Family is a children’s wooden puzzle we designed after staying with one of the smallest remaining ethnic minority groups in Northern China, the Orochen. They shared with us stories about their cultural past, taught us the basics of their crafts, and took us into nature to fish and pick flowers. We were touched by how much they respected and lived in harmony with nature, despite now having been “settled” out of nomadic life. Animals were an important part of their nomadic existence in the forest, each having their own significance, and we wanted to create a toy that reflected this in an educational way.
Originally hunter-gatherers, their in-depth knowledge of their surrounding environment is rapidly being lost due to the incredibly fast development of China. They have an oral tradition, and much of this knowledge will be lost forever, if the younger generation do not learn about it. We hope that the puzzle will spark people’s interest in the culture of ethnic groups, and will teach the younger generation (both the Orochen and the West) a little about this nomadic group.