A nationality that still has pictographic characters
The Naxi nationality is one of the minority nationalities in China. It has a population of 278,009. Over 2/3 of them live together in the Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County in Yunnan, and others scatter over Weixi, Zhongdian, Deqin, Ningliang and Yongsheng counties.
The Naxi nationality has very long history. The ancient Qiang people who roved around as a nomad in valleys of the Huanghe River and the Huangshui River in Qinghai Province passed through many places to the South and moved to the Southwestern Sichuan and the Northwestern Yunnan. They broke up into different nationalities, and the Naxis are one of them. Because of the same pronunciation with different writings, the Naxis are called "Mosha", "Moxie", "Mosuo", etc in Chinese historical records. Because of different dialects, people in the west call themselves "Naxi", and people in the east call themselves "Nari", "Naheng", etc. "Na" means "big" or "honorable", and "xi", "ri", "heng" mean human beings. After the new China was founded, they were unified as Naxi according to their own will.
The Naxis have their own language and characters. Their language belongs to the Yi Language Branch of the Tibetan-Burmese family in the Sino-Tibetan Family. Because they had close connection with the Hans, they began to use Chinese after the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. However, pictographic characters are still kept among the people, and it's called "Dongba" characters because it is mainly used by wizard "Dongbas" to write classic books. Another kind of syllabic language is called "Geba" character, which is used in very small range, and not much used in writing classics.
The Naxi region lies to the South of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, and the average level above sea level is 2700 meters. The Yulong Snowy Mountain in the North of Lijiang and the Haba Snowy Mountain in the southeastern Zhongdian are covered by piles of snow all year round, which are like jade dragons soaring into the sky. The biodiversity resource is very rich in the Yulong Mountain region. The region is famous for the title "storehouse of plants" and "world of flowers". Azalea alone has over 40 kinds there. The upper reaches of the Jinshajiang River pours out from the North to the South, and is blocked by mountains in the Shigu town where the first bend of the ten-thousand-li Yangtse River is formed; Then the Yangtse River turns to the North hastily and surges forward. The famous great "Tiger Jumping Gorge" is formed between the Yulong Snowy Mountain and the Haba Snowy Mountain, which drop in height of over 300 meters. The gorge is over 3000 meters deep, 12 kilometers long and is a rare researching and traveling spot in the world.
The climate is quite different in the Naxi region, and there are three types of climate: Frigid Zone, temperate zone and subtropical zone, which make the region suitable for farming, forestry and animal husbandry. The mountains are covered by Yunnan pines and red firs, and there are over 500 kinds of Chinese herbal medicine, in which the snow tea is an extremely rare and precious one. The plain land mainly produces paddy, corn, wheat, cotton and flax. Animal husbandry is quite flourishing, and the Lijiang horse is especially famous around the Country.
The Naxis generally believe in a primitive polytheism---the Dongba religion, which is an intrinsic religion to the Naxis. It doesn't have systematic doctrines, united organizations and temple. The Dongba Classic is very rich in content, the data in it is very precious and it is an "encyclopedia" of the Naxis.
The folk art of the Naxis is splendid and magnificent, and the classical large musical composition "Naxi Old Music" (divided into two parts: "White Sand Fine Music" and "Dongjing Music") is famous in musical circles of the Country and all over the world.
The old Lijiang County has many scenic spots >>