Once beyond Lijiang heading towards Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangrila, you are basically entering the region of Tibetan culture. It is obvious on the signage of shops, architecture style, and stupas. Once you are in northern Yunnan, Tibet is just nearby.
The Naxi group concentrates mainly in Lijiang area. They have outstanding architectural knowledge and their own Dongba buddhism, language and music. Naxi women is the head of the family and do all the work.
Signature of a Naxi female costume is the cloth at the back with 7 small white round patch representing the moon and stars. The moon and stars implies that the women carry the responsibilities on their shoulders.
In Yunnan, you can see beautiful temples and ancient monuments all over the province. Attached are photographs of some of temples & ancient monuments which you can expect on a trip to Yunnan province.
In Chinese culture, when toasting beer or wine glasses together, it is polite to make sure that your glass is lower than the person's who you are toasting. I suppose this to show modesty. I have to say that I have not always noticed this way of toasting taking place in Beijing or Shanghai, and it probably does not occur among good friends.
However, in Yunnan, I did notice this when drinking with my hosts. My British friend, unaware of this toasting practice, was nearly missing the glass of the host when they toasted (the Brit raised and the Chinese lowered, their cups only making contact by about 2cm!). After pointing out this out to my friend, we all adjusted, to the point that toasts were so low the bottoms of our glasses were almost hitting the table!
This is a nice thing to remember when you are having dinner with Chinese hosts. It definitely applies in Yunnan!
You are going to China? I hope you like karaoke!!! The Chinese just love it! There are many karaoke bars in cities and towns, and each hotel has its own (karaoke by the way is singing popular tunes on accompanying music with the help of the text running on a screen in front of you). Young to middle aged people of all background flock these bars and sings to their heart's desire till late in the night. The result in the cheapest hotels is that you might not sleep very well because of all that (pretty bad) singing background...
So when asked if they wanted to sing too during this Naxi traditional singing and dancing event in a Lijiang farm, our Chinese colleagues had absolutely no problem jumping in and obliging, thanks to their heavy karaoke training (picture)...!
Dragons are a recurrent theme in Chinese art, and Yunnan is no exception! They are decorating town squares (like this one in Yuanjiang), gates, temples and parks. They can be many centuries old or recently carved and painted.
Dragons do not have the scarry and mean reputation they are given in Western tales. On the contrary, in China, they are peaceful and beloved beasts, associated with many festive events (like the Chinese New Year).
This picture shows typical Chinese tombs. I have not seen cemeteries like we have in the Western world (maybe there are some in cities?), but the tombs seem to be put randomly and in a spotted manner in the countryside. The location is probably dictated by Feng Shui rules. I have seen very often hill sides with a dozen tombs in the middle of crop fields. The ones in the picture were at a gold mine.
A common scene in Yunnan is men playing cards, especially the evening in front of their shop or appartment complex. The picture shows men in the Stone Forest playing cards in the middle of the day. The women were busy making embroided cloths for the tourists.
I have seen people washing in the street quite often in the cities and town of Yunnan. I suppose it implies that they do not have running water. In cities, a lot of poor people seems to live in what I would call a garage (just one room with a metal door on the street) which serves as shop, living, dining and bed room.
This long bamboo pipe is seen often being smoked by men in Yunnan. I believe it is a water pipe. This is also a good exotic artifact to bring back as a souvenir! Every market sells them and some souvenir shops as well.
Yunnanese appear to love singing and dancing. Each minotity has a rich folklore of songs that they love to share with any visitor. I have seen young women singing beautifuly in the streets of Lijiang for example, just for the fun of it. In Lijiang too at night, big round dances organize themselves spontanously and everybody is welcomed to participate. The women shown here in the picture are from a village close to Lijiang. They were performing for us in a farm/restaurant. They are all from the same family, and are not professional. By day, they are farmers. Everybody, them and us, had an absolut blast that evening!
Fruits are everywhere in huge colorful stacks. And they are good too, brought in the cities by farmers on their bicycles or cars, fresh from the field. I do not know the name of the fruit on this picture but it was delicious inside! Mangoes, bananas (several types of different colors), anything you want!
Note: do not forget to peal any fruit you eat. First they might not have been washed, or if they have, it might have been with tap water which is not drinkable anywhere in China.
The famous Chinese hat, a style so ubiquitous of South-East Asia, is also seen in Yunnan, mainly worn by peasants working in the fields. The picture is was taken in the Stone Forest, and these women were making and selling souvenirs to tourists.
Men playing pool in their front yards (i.e. the dusty street!) is a very common sight in Yunnan, both in cities and smaller towns. Most pool tables are really old and beat-up, and the yunnanese show real creative skills to balance the table flat on muddy, irregular and slopy grounds! I have seen pool tables in some workers restaurant/cafeteria too, such as in Beiya mine.
Dongba culture was created by Naxi minority a kind of minority live in Lijiang. As same as many culture, Dongba culture is a kind of religion culture. Besides, it's also is sepcial folk-custom activity.
Dongba religion is original religion of Naxi. The priest is called "Dongba" mean wisdom who is the mainly haeres and spreader. In a world, Dongba culture actually is the old culture of Naxi what is inherited from ancestor generation by generation.
Dongba culture including very change of form, as dance, music, painting and unique characters. Locating the archaic city, the Dongba Palace is a special place provide stage to act Dongba program. The old man is called alive petrifaction of Dongba culture.
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