The Naxi People

Yunnan, a multi-ethnic province, is located in the southwest of China and Kunming is its capital city. Among 56 ethnic groups in China, Yunnan has 52 ethnic groups, including Naxi Minority. The Naxi people mainly live inYulong County, Lijiang City,Yunnan with a population of 300,000, which takes up about 95% of the total Naxi people. The 5% of other Naxi people mainly live in Sichuan province and Tibet.

The Naxi is a minority with a long history and a brilliant culture. It has become known worldwide for its unique Dongba Culture. Dongba culture is an important part of Naxi Minority referring mainly to the language and scriptures. The Dongba language is actually composed of 1,400 picture-like characters and symbols that are still used by Dongbas, researchers and artists of the culture. It is by now the only living hieroglyph in the world and is regarded as a precious cultural relic of mankind.

Naxi people pay high attention to the interpersonal relationships. Respecting the old and loving the young are a traditional virtue of the Naxi people. The old people have a very high status in a family. Also, hospitality is a traditional virtue for Naxi people. When you pay a visit there, you will feel it completely. Below Absolute China Tours will introduce more to you about Naxi people.

Dress is quite unique. The Naxi men’s dress is much like that of Han Nationality. In winter, they will also wear sheepskin shawl to keep warm and especially in Lijiang country and Shangri-La, they will wear long and loose gowns and long trousers, tied with sheepskin pocket at the waist. And Naxi men in Ninglang Country wear short jackets and long trousers. The dress of women is different in different places. The Naxi women in Lijiang wear wide-sleeved loose gowns accompanied by jackets and long trouserst. Speepskin is worn slung over the shoulder. And in Ninglang County, the women wear short jackets and long skirts reaching the ground with several folds. Large black cotton turbans are worn around their heads, which are accompanied with big silver earrings. In modern times, traditional dress is rarely worn among the younger generation, since most of them prefer to wear Chinese dress. It is now usually only worn at cultural events and on special occasions.

Then let’s come to festivals. Excepting some festivals, like Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, Mid-autumn Festival, there are also some festivals with Naxi culture. Naxi people uauslly use lunar calendar and the main festivals are Dragon King Temple Fair in March (三月龙王庙会), Mila Fair (米拉会) which is also called Bangbang Festival (棒棒节) and celebrated on January 15th of lunar calendar, and July Fair (七月会). These are all big festival for Naxi people. And also, there are still some kinds of activities of offering sacrifices. And Sanduo Festival (祭三朵) is one of them. According to the legend, Sanduo is the war god who protects the local people and Sanduo is regarded as the most powerful god in their culture.


Finally, we introduce you Naxi Ancient Music which is worthy to enjoy. The traditional Naxi classical music is regarded as a “living fossil of Chinese music”. Naxi people enjoy special favor in the eyes of the divinity, for they seem to be born with artistic qualities and poetic minds. Great talents in the fields of poetry, calligraphy, painting and music have all come from this rich and captivating culture. A crystallization of Taoist rite, Confucian ceremony, and the literary lyrics, poetic topics and musical tones of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties, Naxi Ancient Music has developed its own unique style and traits – the result of 500 hundred years of evolution. It originally included three parts – Baisha Fine Music (Baisha Xiyue), Dongjing Music (Dongjing Yinyue), and Huangjing Music (Huangjing Yinyue), the last of which has long been lost in the river of time. Played on venerable Chinese musical instruments such as flute, shawm, Chinese lute, plectrum, and zither, Naxi Music has the power to cleanse the heart and relax the mind.

Do you know Naxi people now? Are you interested in their culture? Naxi is such a small minority, but have a grand culture. Below is the link of our tour to places of Naxi people:

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