Images showing premodern traditions include one of a tidy array of black pottery jars containing human "night soil" ready for transport downriver from the city of Guilin. In the background, tall, humped mountains, like those seen in traditional Chinese paintings, evoke the country's distant past. In other Guilin images, chickens scamper across watery mud near a low, small house, and Chinese characters cover a riverside rock grotto's walls.
The photos are interspersed with enlargements of Miller and Morath's trip diary entries. Miller writes of Guilin: