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Dongba Culture in Lijiang

About 600 kilometers northwest of Kunming in Yunnan province, Lijiang is on the UNESCO World heritage list. There the Naxi people created the Dongba culture, the soul of Lijiang. "Na" means "black" or "large," while "Xi" means "people."


Since the 14th century, the Naxi have created their own music, passing it down from generation to generation. For more than 500 years of trial and hardship, they also preserved part of the Han classical music already lost in the inland of China. The two forms are now considered living fossils.


Lijiang is also famous for its 55 ancient frescoes painted more than 600 years ago. They're housed in 15 temples and cover a total area of nearly 14,000 square meters. The largest fresco is in Dabaoji Palace. With 100 different figures, the frescoes reflect different painting styles of different religions and ethnic groups.


The soul of Lijiang, Dongba culture originated from the Dongba religion about 1,000 years ago. In the Naxi dialect, Dongba is "a wise man" who also carries on the traditional songs and dances.


The 1,300 Dongba characters are the only living primitive pictographs in the world. The Dongba scriptures, the encyclopedia of ancient Naxi society, cover religion, philosophy, history, literature, art, astronomy, geography and medical science.


The Mosuo people live at Lugu Lake, about 300 kilometers northeast of Lijiang. They still retain the vestiges of a matriarchal society. Lovers have no economic or any legal relationship, and continue to live in their mother's home even when they have children.


Lijiang is not only a great treasure of China, but also of the world.

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