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 Around Lijiang 
Yuhu Village

At the foot of Snow Dragon Mountain, the village was home in the 1920's & 30's to Austro-American botanist Joseph Rock while working for The National Geographic Society.  His apartment and photos can be seen in the village,  his personal effects in Lijiang at the home of his friend the Naxi scholar Mr Xua Ke

Entrance to the village

Must have been the maids day off

 
Another pipe smoking Grandpa, toting another cute baby.   This time it was Mr Ke Chengwen  a maker of the baskets which we see on the back of almost every Naxi woman.   To the right is his wash room

Their quiet rural lifestyle was about to change forever.  A gang of prison inmates was building a joint venture Taiwanese theme park at the village entrance

 

Baisha Village

Once the capital of the Naxi Kingdom.  This Courtyard leads to the ancient Dongba frescos which along with Dr. Ho are the villages main claim to fame.  Dr. Ho is his own greatest fan and will offer you his cure all herbal tea asking that you to pay 'what it is worth'.  John Cleese signed the guest book, 'interesting bloke, crap tea' which sums it up pretty succinctly

Kublai Khan was the patron of the first Naxi orchestra and the music has remained unchanged for over seven hundred years.  Dr Rock's friend and Naxi scholar Mr Xua Ke is largely responsible for the current resurgence of Naxi music
Naxi women dance in their 'Frog Eye Sheepskin' capes

The capes are  still in use today protecting the women's backs from the baskets they always seem to be carrying.  Day and night are represented by the light and dark halves of the cape, the Big Dipper by the seven circles.  On either shoulder a circle depicts the eyes of the Dongba Frog God. When wearing the cape she is ready to 'carry the burden of Heaven on her back'

Dongba Shen Yuan - The Dongba Kingdom

 On the road to Yufeng a lone woman was creating a 'paved' terrace from acres of concrete.   The 'slabs' were marked out in pencil then chipped away with a hammer and chisel to create the illusion

 
There was nobody around who could explain the significance of the site to us so we had no way of knowing that they were building a major Dongba theme park, costing the equivalent of US $4.4 million

 Now covering well over 100,000 sq metres it has six major areas:  Hieroglyphs Square, Five Grain Bridge and Sacred Sea, Door and Religious Staff. Scroll of Sacred Road, Naxi Totem Square and Ancient Naxi Village

 

A massive canvas 'Scroll of Sacred Road' covered with Dongba pictographs wound up the lower reaches of the mountain.   These canvas scrolls play a significant role in the funeral rites of the Naxi.   Today the canvas is replaced with painted rock carvings so that it will be a permanent testament to their culture.  The Sacred Road ended at this towering carving
 

Camellias bloom in the new millennium

 

Yufeng Lamasery

An elderly Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist Scarlet Sect sat resting beside the 500 year old Tree of 10,000 Blossoms in the Lamasery courtyard  

Nobody was more surprised than me when he nodded his consent to the photo

During the Cultural Revolution a monk risked his life to keep the tree watered

We bade farewell to Chairman  Mao towering over the New Town Lijiang square which bears his name   

On our first evening here we stood at dusk watching local girls in colourful costumes dancing around and around his statue.  It seemed an unusual way for beautiful young women to spend a Saturday night

Leaving Lijiang
It's easy to see why Naxi women retain their sheepskin capes.  Her basket was full as she prepared to shoulder 'the burden of Heaven' on her back.  Meanwhile his days work done, her husband picks up his hoe and strides off home
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