The people of the Naxi ethnic minority mostly live in the Naxi Autonomous County in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, while the rest live in Sichuan and Tibet. Their population is 308,893 according to the 2000 census. In the name Naxi (also spelled Nakhi), Na means senior and honored and Xi means people.
Language and Character:
The Naxi language belongs to the Tibetan-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan phylum. In the past, they used a pictographic language called ‘Dongba’ and another called ‘Geba’. In 1957, they designed characters based on the Latin alphabet and now most can write in Chinese. The Dongba Scripture (or Dongba Jing) that their ancestors left has recorded all facets of the Naxi life and is highly valued for posterity as a means of studying their character and history.
|Naxi People in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan
|Dongba Characters of Naxi Language
Before the foundation of modern China in 1949, most of the Naxi held the faiths of Dongba Jiao, believing that all have spirits and those spirits could never die. When they encountered significant events such as marriage, death, festivals, or disasters, they would invite a wizard to chant. Although there was Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity being taught there, few Naxi people turned to those religions.
The Naxi people live on farming, stockbreeding and handicrafts. Reaches of the Jinshajiang River is abundant in botanical resources such as trees and medicinal herbs. The Lijiang horse has also enjoyed the reputation for years of one of the ‘Three treasures of Lijiang’ which were presented to the official courts because of its ability to transport goods in mountainous area.
The Naxi’s breakfast is simple and usually consists of steamed bread, but lunch and supper are often more sumptuous. They like to pickle pork. The pickled Pipa pork is famous for lasting several years. (Taken from the internet)
Two young Naxi girls, the one who is married has the crossing white strips knotted in the middle. If you are single they remain straight.
Two older women in traditional Naxi clothing.
I loved the decorations on their back.
Here is one of only 38 Dongba Priests who still do the pictograph pictures.
We met this Chinese doctor who speaks English and is still practicing medicine at 92 years old.