(Photo: China Daily)
China hosted an international water buffalo bodypainting competition on May 18 in Pu'er, Yunnan Province. 48 water buffaloes participated. The winning team was a group of local schoolchildren who walked away with the 100,000 yuan ($16,005 USD) prize.
That’s not surprising because painting on water buffalos is a well-established local custom. It's a traditional means of protecting them from predators:
According to legend, a villager once saw his water buffalo getting attacked by a tiger. As the creatures rolled around on the field, mud and blood covered the buffalo's body.
The bull looked so terrifying that the tiger got scared and ran away. After that locals started painting on their cattle to keep the predators away.
The tradition developed into a popular festival held each year to celebrate harvest and honor the cattle.
You can see more photos of these colorful beasts at Amusing Planet.