|Outlook of the Naxi culture|
is an encyclopedic treatise of the Naxi and Moso cultures, with chapters
dealing with the origin and history of the Naxi, their language, religion,
customs, ethics, astronomy, literature, science, philosophy, government,
medicine, architecture, trade, communications and economy. The length
and deep of the different chapters is very uneven and sometimes even surprising.
After a general introduction a short chapter deals with the history of
the Naxi through the Chinese dynastic history. Most of the mentions to
the Moxie and other peoples living in and around Lijiang are mentioned
here. After this chapter there is a long description of the archaeological
findings in the Lijiang and Yongning regions, which, even though not necessarily
related with the Naxi, can provide some clues about the former inhabitants
of these lands.
of the Naxi is carefully described in the second chapter, with some tables
that compare Naxi language with other languages related and the different
dialects of the language. Dongba and Geba scripts are only succinctly
described. Equally short, for the length of this book, is the description
of the Dongba religion, but this shortness is compensated by the lengthy
descriptions of the chapter dealing with Naxi culture, more than one hundred
pages dealing with their food, clothes, architecture, marriage, funeral,
birth, festivals and rituals, and divination. Along this chapter the variations
of the Naxi culture are fully considered, and many of the paragraphs deal
with the characteristics of the Naxi people around Lijiang, of the Moso
around Yongning, the Ruarke (1) in Baidi Township, or the Masha in Weixi
County. Their attempts to give some light to the complex variations of
the Naxi culture, are only in part successful, with the bulk of the information
provided related to the standard Naxi culture of the Lijiang plains.
chapter deals with the ethics of the Naxi and Moso people in different
aspects of their lives: specially in their family, social and religious
life. The next is a short description of the Naxi astronomical knowledge
and its relation to the Han Chinese conceptions of the universe.
chapter, with more than 200 pages is the longest in the book. It deals
with the literature and arts of the Naxi. The detailed introduction to
the Naxi literature includes descriptions of the genres of both the folk
and Dongba sacred literature, as well as the main writers of the "modern"
literature, from the 16th century to the present times. Music, dance,
painting and sculpture are also introduced in this chapter.
end of this chapter to the last pages of the book different aspects of
the Naxi and Moso culture are treated summarily, as technology, education,
sports, philosophy, government and military issues, news and publishing,
medicine and hygiene, construction and famous buildings, commerce, communications
and economic development, etc.
that this book is not only a valuable reference to different aspects related
with Naxi and Moso life and culture, but a starting point to discover
the rich and diverse cultures created by the historical activities of
the Mu Kings and the geographical environment in which they were framed,
cultures developed as a result of the adaptation of the Naxi people to
different geographical and political conditions. It is a pity that the
localism inherent to the development of Chinese science and politics make
the writers of this book avoid the research with the same deepness of
the Naxi cultures in Sichuan Province, preventing them of create a big
picture of the culture of the Naxi nationality.
(1) Ruarke and Masha is the denomination of the naxi people living in Baidi and Weixi.
Naxi zu wenhua daguan (Outlook of the Naxi culture). Yunnan Nationalities Press. Kunming. 1999
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