Friday, February 22, 2013

Children of the Jade Dragon

Children of the Jade Dragon

     The Naxi and the Yi are two of the most important ethnic minorities in northwest Yunnan. The Naxi provided troops for frontier military services during the days of Imperial China and absorbed influences from both their Han and Tibetan neighbors. They also maintained their own ritual specialists, called dongba, and kept books written with their unique pictographs. The Yi were formerly a highly stratified, slave-holding society, virtually autonomous until the late 1950s in their Cool Mountains stronghold. They also had ritual specialists, called bìmaw, as well as books written in their own ancient script. Despite change and the developments of modernization, both peoples have striven to preserve much of their customs and traditions, as well as their keen sense of ethnic identity.

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