Friday, November 29, 2013


we head out of Lijiang after lunch to the nearby village of Baisha, the original Naxi capital-

About six miles north of the Old Town is the one-street village of Baisha. The original capital of the Naxi people, before it moved to Lijiang, Baisha sits at the base of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
here we visit very very old temples with incredible murals (note the warning sign) which of course cannot be photographed- but the place was mostly deserted and had a peacefulness and serenity we hadn't found in Lijiang -

also located in Baisha is an embroidery school where Masters teach younger student the techniques in the true art of embroidery- you will gasp at what they do when you get to the photographs - it is stunningly beautiful!

the view on the drive between Old Town Lijiang and Baisha with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background

The old temple in Baisha is the location of well known murals from the Dongba religion and earlier religions of the area (derivative from Buddhism)

and as you can see from below - old and new find a mix in Baisha-

from the temple complex we head to the home of a Naxi woman - and see her family living quarters-

the kitchen-

a storage corner for produce-

a cabinet that serves as a meat locker-

the bedroom with no closet- only rope to hang their clothing -

on the wall a photo of a Naxi woman- in the dress I keep mentioning - and now might be a good time to give a few more close views of the traditional dress-

the front view shows the apron and the crossed fabric (which ties in the back around a sort of knapsack like piece) Anna wore hers over pants (as did the ladies in the park) but you can see it can also be a skirt-

Anna in the market- I think the crossed front pieces meant "married lady"-

here the view of the knapsack which is held by the crossed front pieces which come up over the shoulders and then around back and tie across the back piece-

you can see it a bit better on the older ladies from the park-

back to Baisha, our next and final stop of the day was the embroidery school-

the work of one of the advanced artists there- for sale in the gallery for thousands of dollars and as I zoom in for greater detail you will see why-

this was just amazing work! but they even had things that were embroidered on both side of the fabric with DIFFERENT images - not just reversed- completely different things!
a few miscellaneous shots as we headed through the village -

a couple of cute dogs-

and we finally complete our first day in Lijiang and on the main part of our planned trip- we arrive back at the hotel to find an afternoon sun reflected on the pagoda and the pool in the lobby area - we have reserved a dinner in the Chinese restaurant at the hotel - we are located so far out of town it is not practical to head back in and Anna warns us that the Old Town restaurants are more drinking places than eating-

so tomorrow is another day and we have a lot of great things ahead but not quite as many posts will be needed for a single day from this point until we get to Shanghai which was similarly jam-packed with interesting things... keep on coming back for more!

China's environmental issues

are clearly an issue- anyone who visits knows this sentence from a recent NYT article on Lijiang

The word “breathtaking” when applied to a Chinese city too often refers to respiratory-attack-inducing smog.

and we had such an experience in our visit to Beijing and Xian years earlier but we were confronted with a different issue when we visited Lijiang in Yunnan Province. You may recall in a very early post about preparing for this trip that I had some postcards the travel agent had put together for us to send from China- (   here is one of them from Lijiang-

this is the famous Black Dragon Pool-  here is a sign for the site as you enter:


specifically note the line: "it was listed in the World Culture Heritage as an important component of Lijiang Old Town." - and - here is what we saw...

the current state of this park is a horror-  and makes signs like this a joke!

this site is so famous it was on the cover of the guide book we chose for this trip-

there are still folks using the park- seniors playing mahjong (men and women) - the women dressed in traditional Naxi clothing- the men in more western style dress...

we stopped at a temple (Five Phoenix Hall)which was converted to a shrine for a local politician who seemed to have done a lot for the people of Lijiang.  there we finally saw a man "finger painting" - which was famous at the Chen Family Academy in Guangzhou but we didn't see it because our guide Dragon told us it was a sales pitch...

after circumnavigating the path that surrounded the once beautiful pool we headed to the Dongba Center (the Naxi religion) to learn about the pictographs-

below an traditional Naxi dwelling- from inside the museum-

and before I leave Black Dragon Pool - I want to add one more photograph where the actual spring that feeds the waterways of the city is shown-

the overuse of the resource has shrunken the pool to a small portion of its size and while they have plans for correcting the problem- the plans won't come to fruition for years- who knows what will be left of this once lovely park...

but we press on to lunch and then head out of town to visit Baisha- the original capital of the Naxi people... more later-