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The Ancient City of Lijiang
2004/06/09


     The ancient city of Lijiang is located at the foot of the snow-capped Yulong Mountains, which is in the southeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau known as the "roof of the world" and the northwestern part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. The ancient city is formed of three separate ancient towns, namely, Baisha, Shuhe, and Dayan. It is called the "soul of Lijiang" because the city itself is located where the Han, Tibetan, Nanzhao and Naxi cultures converge and has been a caretaker of civilization for over 1,O00 years. The ancient city of Lijiang is by no means a fossil. It is alive and full of vigor with its "poetic style of living", its aesthetic norms, its simple way of life, and its classic art of city construction.

     Lijiang Prefecture is home to people of more than 20 minority ethnic groups, the bulk of whom are the Naxi. Each of these ethnic groups has a unique culture and history, which match into the beauty of the land, setting an example of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. Known as the "soul of Lijiang", the city formed a part of the cultural heritage of China presented by the Naxi cultures. The most typical example is the Dongba ("necromancer" or "sutra reader") culture and ancient Naxi music. The rich Dongba culture includes pictographic records, drawings on different sorts of materials, music, dance, sacrificial rituals and folk customs. Naxi music, called the Dongjing (Cave Sutra) music of Lijiang, is a combination of the quintessence of the ancient Naxi music with the Confucian and Taoist musical traditions of the Han people. It is considered a "living fossil of the ancient music of China".

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