A Glimpse into the Bai People and their Heritage
Located not too far from the ancient capital of Dali, lies the county of Heqing, a stunning example of the unique architecture of the Bai people. This ethnic group is one of the 56 officially recognized by the Chinese government and their name, Bai, literally means “white people” in Chinese, reflecting their reverence for the color white.
The Bai people are proud of their heritage, and fiercely protect their language, customs, and traditions. They are known for their beautiful architecture, which has been well-preserved in Heqing. The county is located in the Dali prefecture and is a true gem for those interested in learning more about the Bai people and their history.
It is worth noting that Dali was the ancient capital of two great kingdoms, the Bai kingdom of Nanzhao, which flourished during the 8th and 9th centuries, and the Kingdom of Dali, which reigned from 937-1253. Today, Dali is still rich in history and culture, making it a popular destination for tourists and a fascinating place to visit for those interested in learning more about China’s past.
The pictures of Heqing and its stunning Bai architecture were captured by the lens of photographer Matteo Damiani. These photographs offer a glimpse into a world that is both beautiful and rich in history, and provide a visual representation of the cultural heritage of the Bai people.
Witnessing the Time-Honored Dragon Dance of Yunnan
In the Yunnan province of China, specifically in Heqing, Dali Prefecture, the elderly people of the Bai community perform a time-honored tradition known as the Dragon Dance. This captivating performance involves a large dragon made of colorful fabric and paper, held up on poles by dancers who move in a coordinated rhythm to make the dragon come alive.
The Dragon Dance is a significant part of the Chinese New Year celebration, which is the most important festival in China. The locals believe that the dance will bring good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. The dancers, who are highly respected and regarded as skilled performers, are often invited by families and businesses to perform the Dragon Dance for them as a way to bring fortune and ward off evil spirits.
The Bai community has been preserving and passing down the tradition of the Dragon Dance for generations, and it remains an important aspect of their cultural heritage. The dance requires a lot of practice and teamwork, and it is an excellent way for the elderly to stay active and engaged in their community. Through the Dragon Dance, the Bai people express their reverence for their ancestors and their hopes for a prosperous future.
Related articles: Guide to Yunnan, The ancient town of Dali, Sound of Dali by Zhang Yang, South of Clouds, a documentary about ethnic minorities in Yunnan, Taiji Fishing Village: a village shaped like the Yin Yang symbol
Photos: Matteo Damiani, www.china-underground.com
topics: yunnan travel,yunnan trip,dali travel,dali trips,dali tour,heqing travel