Keyi: a Museum Village of the Axi Yi

Pedro Ceinos Arcones, 2009

The lands of the Axi branch of the Yi minority are situated to the east of Kuming, the capital of Yunnan Province. About 100 kilometers east of this city lay Keyi village, one of the most famous and easily accessible villages of the Axi-Yi.

Some kilometers before the village the traveler has the feeling that he is arriving to a special place, as paintings of tigers, birds and other mythical beasts and personages of the Axi are displayed on the rocks in the side of the road.

Many walls of the houses of Keyi are decorated also with paintings related to the culture of the Axi, animals, specially the tiger, musical instruments, dancing people, farming activities.

The village itself conserve an harmony of houses and lanes apparently innocent but full of sense when observed from the heights of the church. Going down, a small labyrinth invites us to explore in detail the rhythm of life in Keyi. From the central place or the central pond, narrow lanes flanked by white walls ascend slowly up to the soft mountain in which Keyi is built.

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