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Sunday, April 29, 2007
Yunnan Trip Photos are online -vvv vwv

I've posted photos from my Yunnan trip here. I've kept them low-resolution this time.

Here are some photos from the collection with some interesting things I learned about some of the minority races.

I encountered primarily the Yi (彝族), Bai (白族) and Naxi (纳西) tribe on my trip. They are based in Kunming (昆明), Dali (大理) and Lijiang (丽江) respectively. For the Yi tribe, all women are referred to as Ashima (阿诗玛, as in the 1964 movie) and all men are A Hei Ge (阿黑哥). It feels quite strange having to call strangers 阿诗玛 and have the locals call me 阿黑哥. It sounds like you know each other when you really don't. For the Bai tribe, it's Jinhua (金花, literally golden flower) and A Peng (阿鹏). This should be familiar for those who have seen the popular 1959 movie "五朵金花".

For the Naxi tribe, it's Pan Jin Mei and Pan Jin Ge. The Naxi tribe reflects the interesting Dongba (东巴) culture. The Dongba script uses pictographs that look like children's drawings to me. Naxi women are a hardworking lot. I think Naxi tribe is men's paradise. Supposedly, if you are a men and you know "qin qi shu hua yan jiu cha" (zither, board game, calligraphy, painting, smoke, liquor, tea), you don't have to work, women will work their fingers to the bones for you. The best part is that slim women with fair complexion are considered low quality. Then again, maybe the tour guide was exaggerating.

Back to the Yi tribe, currently the second largest minority group after the Zhuang group in Guangxi. Here's a picture of the representative stone Ashima and a tourist dressed in Yi attire.

Notice the pointy thing in the headdress. They represent butterflies. Two upright triangles represent singlehood, one flattened triangle for attached ladies and two flattened triangles for married women. If you fancy a lady, you show it by touching those triangle thingies on her hat. What a brilliant system, no guessing games or awkward hints, everything is spelled out clearly.

This is a picture of a few Jinhuas wearing their traditional attire at this place where they show us the traditional way of welcoming guests with three different teas.

If I remember correctly, the middle or middle left is the bridal costume. Anyway, notice the headdress for the one on the extreme right. 大理 is famous for its four scenes of 风花雪月 (wind, flower, snow, moon). As the saying goes, "下关风、上关花、苍山雪、洱海月" (windy Xiaguan, flowers of Shangguan, snow on Cangshan mountain, reflection of the Moon at Erhai lake). These are all reflected in the head dress. The white streamers at the side represents wind. The front is full of embroidered flowers. The furry white rim represents snow and the crescent shape of the hat represents the Moon. Interesting eh?

Disclaimer: Most of the info is from the tour guide. I wouldn't know if he is making things up, which I suspect he is sometimes.

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