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About Lijiang

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Lijiang Local Features


Dongba Culture

Lijiang Local Features -- Dongba CultureDongba culture denotes the old traditional culture of the Naxi minority group. In Naxi dialect, "Dongba" means wise person. These people are traditionally knowledgeable about astronomy, geography, agriculture, medicine and etiquette and are also very good at folk song and dance. 

Dongba characters are the most well-preserved hieroglyphic characters in the word. Each line, symbol and drawing of the 1300 characters has a specific meaning and experts now estimate that these are the only existing hieroglyphic characters in the world. Dongba  scriptures cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from religion, philosophy, literature, art, astronomy and history to folk costume, music, dance and painting. 

The best place to get a close look at Dongba culture is at the Dongba Culture Museum.

The Old City of Lijiang

Lijiang Local Features -- The Old City of LijiangThe old town of Lijiang (lijiang gucheng), also known as Dayan Town stands in the northwest of Yunnan province, surrounded by elegant green trees with Lijiang Dam cutting through the center of the town. The old town is said to resemble a huge ink slab and the Chinese name for the town, Dayan, literally translates as "great ink slab".

As a political and economic center since ancient times, Lijiang Town was built at the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty, when Kublai Khan conquered Dali. The town was built to its current scale during the Southern Song Dynasty. A renowned Chinese traveler during the Ming Dynasty, Xu Xiake once glorified the prosperity of Lijiang by describing it as being "as splendid as an Emperor's Palace".

Distinct from any other place, Lijiang town does not comply with traditional Chinese architectural street design. Lanes are arranged here at random; city walls are removed from the layout; and three rivers (the east, the middle and the west) run through the town. What is also unusual about the town is that every house has access to water. In a sense, Lijiang is not only the epitopmy of Chinese national tradition in terms of architectural style and disposition, but is also an architectural re-creation of Naxi tradition and custom.

The houses in Lijiang are characterized by their unique design too. Most buildings are traditional Chinese in style, and surround small courtyards. The Xiazi (outer corridor) is an important part of the Naxi house, an integration of the architectural characteristics of Beijing Siheyuan with local features. Naxi people are particularly fond of flowers and every courtyard is decorated with numerous flowers and trees.

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