Mainly inhabited by the Naxi in Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, and the rest distributed in Weixi, Zhongdian, Ninglang, Deqin and Yanbian, Yanyuan, Muli , Sichuan Province. Some other distributed in Zhikang, Tibet. According to historians research, Naxi was a branch of Ancient Qiang people in northwest China, at around the third century AD to move to Lijiang settled. The current population is 324,679 people.
The smart and unsophisticated Naxi people who have long inhabited Lijiang preserve the unique and profuse Dongba Culture. In fact, a great number of scholars and travelers are attracted to this mysterious place more for the culture than its charming sceneries. Dongba Culture is of a religious nature and make up the most important component of the ancient Naxi culture.
Since ancient times, have had close contacts with the Han Nationality, most people can speak Chinese, until now, Naxi daily diet, lifestyle, culture and so on still have the characteristics of the ancient Han culture in the Central Plains.
Naxi Village The Naxi people build homes of wood and roof them with gray tiles, and the village was only recently connected to Lijiang by a rough dirt road (now making it possible to drive in). None of the uninspiring concrete buildings that so often mar Chinese landscapes are present. Instead, there are intricately carved gates and huge wooden racks used to hang barley to dry in the fall
Naxi warmhearted and hospitable, everyone can share a prey when met at hunting returned. There is also to retain the characteristics of nomadic people until now. You can always see the young men go out hunting with dog and eagle at Lijiang.
Naxi woman virtuous, hard-working, mothers, homemakers, apparel with star and moon up to show spare any. Naxi man bent on zither, chess, calligraphy and painting, who refined a lot, not the number of young talent; Naxi great importance to scholars, but a time when the country suffered, there is no lack of bloody man in the Lijiang. The "Anti-Japanese War Memorial Monument" was standing at Jade Spring Park to commemorate the officers and men of Naxi who blood battlefield, die on the battlefield at the War of Resistance Against Japan such as Taierzhuang battlefield.
The Naxi ethnic minority group has their own distinctive style of traditional clothing. Naxi women living in the Lijiang area typically wear pants, a loose wide sleeved gown topped with a waistcoat and a pleated apron. Their shoes are boat-shaped and hand-embroidered. Naxi women's clothing typically comes in black, white, or blue and is embroidered with flower patterns on the collars, sleeves, and front. Over their shoulders, they wear a sheep skin cape with seven round embroidered discs representing seven stars. The cape is used to prevent chafing when carrying baskets on their backs. Married women comb their hair into a bun and wear a round cap, while unmarried women wear their hair in braids coiled on the back of their head and wear a handkerchief, or a black velvet cap. Men, women, and children carry baskets on their backs. These baskets have two arm straps and fit like a Western style backpack. Their baskets work not only as their book bags, but are also used to carry their children, vegetables, laundry, and even bricks. The baskets are not only functional, but are very beautiful with different patterns and colors woven into them.
Dongba Culture refers to ancient Naxi culture, which is given the name because it has been passed down by "dongbas".The Dongba hieroglyphs, the Dongba Scriptures, and the Dongba painting, music and dance compose in the aggregate the Dongba culture. The Naxi people are an ancient civilised people. As early as over one thousand year ago, it brought into being a polytheist it primitive religion called the Dongba, which created the hieroglyphs and a whole system of the Dongba culture. The latter has been handed down to the present time and has become a precious cultural legacy of the Chinese people.
Dongba culture originated from the Primary Naxi Religion, and believes in the supernatural gods and their rule over the world. It is polytheism and incorporates Lamaism, Buddism and Daoism. Dongba shaman, which means "wise man", is a witch doctor, scholar, craftsman as well as an artist. The Dongba religion is of fetish. Ancestor and Nature Worshipping are the basic characteristics. The varied rituals, preserved among people through pictograph, scriptures and religious form, are the main carrier.
The hieroglyphs, or the Dongba script, consists of more than 3,000 words in addition to some 700 simplified hieroglyphs. The Dongba Scriptures are a voluminous and substantial Naxi encyclopedia. The more than 20,000 volumes of the book series contain ancient legends and tales, narrative epics, folk poems, proverbs and descriptions of the Naxi populace's life in olden times and its relationship with other peoples. It is therefore a precious source material for the study of the naxi people's religion, history, social development, life customs and language. Related to the Dongba primitive religion much influenced by the Bon Sect of the Tibetan Lamaism are the Dongba painting, Dongba music and dance. It is reported that a volume of dance notation called "Cuo Tang", which records the Dongba dance, is the only hieroglyphic choreography hitherto discovered in the world, and is held in high regard by the scholars of the world. The "Dongba Scroll Painting" are invaluable treasures in the ethnicgallery.
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.
While wandering along the ancient streets and alleyways of Lijiang's Old Town, a visitor will undoubtedly hear the melodious Naxi ancient music. The traditional Naxi classical music is considered a "living fossil of Chinese music". After over 500 years of evolution, Naxi ancient music has developed its own unique style. Played on traditional Chinese music, the traditional music is said to have the power to cleanse the heart, and relax the mind.
Culture is the soul of Lijiang ancient town. Dongba culture is an integral part of Naxi culture, referred to as the ancient culture of the ethnic Naxi. It is called so because it is mostly found in the Dongba religion, which is believed to be one thousand years old. It chiefly consists of scriptures, paintings, music, dances, ritual implements and religious sevices.
The exhibition of Dongba Art can be found in the Jade Fountain Park on the northern edge of town. It is centred in some buildings in the park that include the Moon Embracing Pavilion with its own bridge across the water, called the white marble Belt Bridge and the Ming Dynasty Five Phoenix Temple. Other elements of Cultural Art are the Baisha Murals and the Tangqia Paintings.
Naxi have their own language and writing. Naxi language is a branch of Yi language, generally classified as Sino-Tibetan Tibeto-Burman language. Naxi has two characters: Dongba hieroglyphs and Geba script. Dongba hieroglyph is a kind of original pictograph picture, mainly use by of Dongba to teaching, and writing, so they said as Dongba hieroglyph. In Naxi language, the Dongba hieroglyph called "Si Jiu Lu Jiu", which means "wood trace stone trace", that is, see wood draw wood, see stone draw stone. Dongba scholars think the Dongba hieroglyphs is more ancient orginal than the Babylonian cuneiform, the ancient Egyptian language book saint, the Central American Mayan and Chinese Oracle, it is the only one hieroglyph which are still alive in the world, is considered for all mankind valuable cultural heritage. It has a high academic value for comparative study of language and human cultural history. It is the "living fossil" for the origin of human society and language development.
"Geba" is the meaning of disciples for Dongba, "Geba Script" means that characters created by the disciples of the Dongba named "shiluo". "Geba Script" is the transformation and development of Dongba. Dongba also use it to write two hundred books. This character easy to stroke, and one word one audio, than a step to Dongba hieroglyph. "Geba Script" although more than 2400 symbols, but more duplicate, only more than 500 commonly used words, marked pronunciation but does not mark tone, instead of a homonym and near a lot of sound, which does not widely use. However, it has an advantage that the Naxi language has some words can not find the corresponding Dongba hieroglyphs, But the Geba script always has a corresponding map.
Dongba ancient books wrote by the Dongba hieroglyphs, covering to astronomy, calendar, medicine, philosophy, history, religion, literature, art and many other fields. These books, named as "Dongba Encyclopaedia". "Dongba Encyclopaedia" extensive knowledge and profound scholarship, It is the valuable information to examine the Naxi ancient philosophy, religious customs, social history, ethics, ethnic relations, literature, art, lang, etc. Therefore, "Dongba Encyclopaedia" also known as the society of encyclopedia of ancient Naxi.
"Dongba Encyclopaedia" has more than 20,000 copies. China collected has about 9000, the loss of overseas has not yet recovered to about 11,000. In China, major collection at the Academy of Social Sciences in Yunnan Dongba Culture Research Institute (Lijiang), Lijiang City Museum, the Beijing Library, Lijiang County Library, Central University for Nationalities, Yunnan Province Library, National Museum of Taiwan Province.In the 1980's, the Dongba Culture Research Bureau was set up to help further the study of the Naxi ethnic group and its culture.
Dongba Museum has been considered as the sanctuary of the culture of Naxi ancient culture. It holds a remarkable collection of Naxi relics and cultural display. Tourists have an opportunity to explore the rich Naxi minority culture, and learn about the "Wood and stone Prints" of pictographic characters
The China abroad, the main collection at the Library of Congress, Harvard University Museum, the National Library in Berlin and London, the British Museum. Japan, Austria, Italy, Canada and other countries as well as some collections.
The Dongba Culture had a situation come to a halt because of historical reasons. But a number of pilot schools has been introduced in the Dongba culture from 1995. More and more people at home and abroad have taken place in Dongba culture of interest and someone research in some special fields with the Dongba culture to gradually improve the well-known. However, there is not positive place, a number of outland businessman fabricate a lot of wrong Dongba hieroglyphs at travel souvenirs to profit at Lijiang when they limited in the Dongba culture knowledge. They mislead and deceive consumers. But no matter how to say, It is a miracle. Naxi has created two types of ancient language, and still using these ancient languages.
Lijiang is not only a great treasure of China, but also of the world.