Published: April 28th 2009April 19th 2009
Today we take a boattrip on the Erhai lake, the largest lake in Yunnan, we visit a traditional Bei fishingvillage and we are going to other villages around Dali. And off course we show you some pictures of the famous Three Pagodas of Dali.
Our great tourguide and friend James knows a lot about the history and habits of the Dai people. He also gives us a lot of information about the very old local temple Shacun. So we learn a lot of him today and the coming days. Information about the Dai minority. Many thanks to www.travelchinaguide.com
The main distribution of the Bai people is in the Dali Bai Autonomous County of Yunnan Province, together with Lijiang, Kunming, Yuanjiang, Guizhou and so on. According to the census taken in 2000, the Bai ethnic group numbered some 1,858,063 individuals.
The Bai language derives from the Zang-Mian Austronesian family of Sino-Tibetan Phylum but with the character set of the Han people as their written form of language.
Arts and Crafts:
The Bai people are masters of artistic creativity including architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and other craft techniques such as lacquer work. The great
Three Pagodas in Dali, having stood since the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and resembling the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian are excellent examples of Bai creativity and skill. Contemporarily, their dance and music spread among the Han people after becoming accepted as part of the court entertainment. In the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties, the majority of the skilled lacquer artisans were selected from Yunnan Province.
For the diet, they prefer sharp, cold and spicy flavor, so they prefer cured ham or fish eaten with rice or flour; though some people in the mountains eat corn as a staple food.
The Bai people favor white clothes and decorations. White in Chinese is pronounced 'Bai', so maybe this is where their name derives from. Women in Dali traditionally wear a white coat trimmed with a black or purple collar, blue loose trousers; embroider shoes, silver bracelets and ear rings.
Although the Bai people believe in Buddhism, they also respectively worship their village god ('Benzhu'), Nature god, the Prince of the Nanzhao regime, or even a hero of folklore.
The grandest festival of the Bai people is the March Fair, held annually at
the foot of Mt. Cangshan in Dali between the fifteenth and the twentieth day of the third lunar month. Originally it was religious activity to rally and pay homage, but it gradually evolved into a fair including performances of traditional sports and dance, as well as the trade of merchandise from different regions. Another important festival is the Torch Festival, held on the 25th day of the sixth lunar month to wish both health and a good harvest. On that evening, the countryside will be decorated with banners with auspicious words written upon them. Villagers will then light torches in front of their gates, then walk around the fields while holding yet more torches in order to catch pests. Information about the world famous Three Pagodas of Dali. Many thanks to www.travelchinaguide.com
Three pagodas, about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) northwest of the ancient city of Dali, occupying a scenic location at the foot of Mt. Cangshan facing Erhai Lake, has a history of over 1,800 years. It is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three
ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. This is unique in China. A visit to theThree Pagodas should not be missed by any visitor to Dali City.
The middle pagoda, Qianxun Pagoda, 69.13 meters (227 feet) high, is one of the highest pagodas of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), while the other lower two stand to the north and south sides of it. Qianxun Pagoda, now empty, previously could be climbed by ladder from the inside. However the ladder is now broken, and travelers now have no opportunity to climb up. Three Pagodas, Zhaozhou Bridge of Hebei Province, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Shaanxi Province, are three curiosities of Chinese ancient architecture.
Many sculptures of Buddha made of gold, silver, wood or crystal, Buddhist readings, and more than 600 various medicinal ingredients were found in Qianxun Pagoda, playing an important role in explaining the ancient history of Dali City. Study of Three Pagodas and the cultural relics that have been excavated at the site provide significant data for exploring the history, religion, and art of the area. Today, travelers can visit Three Pagodas at night, when it is illuminated providing a fantastic scene.
Nearby on the 'marble street' there are many folk-craft workshops and stands specializing in marble and brick-painting.
Known for its resilience, Three Pagodas has survived several eras of severe earthquakes. The local government still makes a great effort to strengthen it to make it as strong as when it was built to ensure the preservation of this architectural treasure.
See you next time and stay tuned for more adventures in Yunnan.
From Yunnan with love.
Monkey and Bear.
Lieve vrienden en vriendinnen,
In deze travelblog maken wij een boottocht op het Erhai meer, het grootste meer in de provincie Yunnan. Aan het meer bezoeken wij een oud traditioneel vissersdorp van de Bei Minority. Verder gaan wij naar de dorpen Zhoucheng en Xizhou. De bevolking van deze dorpen bestaat nagenoeg voor 100% uit Bei ethnic people. Voor meer informatie over de Bei bevolking verwijs ik jullie naar de Engelse tekst van www.travelchinaguide.com hierboven.
Onze fantastische gids en inmiddels ook onze vriend geworden James weet ons ontzettend veel te vertellen over de historie en de gewoonten van de Bei bevolking. Ook over de meer dan 600 honderd jaar oude tempel Shacun geeft
hij ons veel leerzame informatie.
Uiteraard brengen wij ook een bezoek aan de wereldberoemde Three Pagodas van de Chongshen Abdij aan de voet van de Zhonge bergtop.
Het is onvoorstelbaar wat wij tijdens deze reis iedere dag opnieuw leren over de rijke cultuur en historie van China. De kwaliteit van onze gidsen is iedere keer weer van een uitstekend niveau. Monkey is inmiddels begonnen om in ons reisdagboek heel veel informatie op te schrijven tijdens onze bezoeken aan alle bezienswaardigheden want het is langzamerhand niet meer mogelijk om alles te onthouden.
Wij hopen dat jullie weer een klein beetje met ons meereizen bij het zien van de foto's.
Geniet er van en we see you next time on our travelblog.
From Dali with love,
Monkey and Bear.
There are more photos below