TRAVEL Exploring an island of Han culture in Guizhou

TRAVEL

Exploring an island of Han culture in Guizhou

China Daily

05:44, August 31, 2018

A bird's-eye view of Longli town in Jinping county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]


Longli, an ancient military bunker with a history of more than 600 years, is on the southwest edge of Jinping county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, Guizhou province.


The town was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is the only well-preserved military city of Han culture in Southwest China, in an area with a dense ethnic group population. Even now, it still preserves the layout and residential buildings from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties .


The inhabitants of Longli were descendants of station troops in the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), when emperor Zhu Yuanzhang sent armies to depress an uprising by Miao and Dong ethnicities here.  


The soldiers came from Zhu Yuanzhang's hometown, Anhui and Jiangxi, places with a Han culture background. Thus, there has been a preservation of the customs of Jiangnan, or the south of the Yangtze River.


Yu Qiuyu, a famous Chinese writer, calls the town an "isolated island of Han culture".




Anhui architecture with Miao and Dong elements in Longli town, Jinping county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, Guizhou province.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]


The culture handed down in Longli is mainly Han culture. Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism are rooted in this land, while mixing with the local Miao and Dong cultures.


Over the centuries, Han culture and local Miao and Dong cultures have collided and merged with each other, forming a sub-cultural group different from the Central Plains culture and the local ethnic culture. It is a Han cultural community in an ethnic group area.


The architectural forms and artistic techniques of buildings here have obvious characteristics of Anhui architecture with white walls, black tiles and corbel-steps. However, due to influence by the Miao and Dong culture, buildings here have gorgeous color.



A dragon dancer with a painted face in Longli town, Jinping county.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]


Here tourists can also appreciate many intangible cultural heritages. Most famous is the painted-face dragon dance. Especially during the Lantern Festival, people come from miles around to see the dragon dance. Dragon dancers, with paint on their faces, use the dragon's tail to pull the whole dragon, a unique style of dance in China.


Longli no longer exists as a military garrison unit. Coming to Longli is like walking into a time tunnel, as if life from 600 years ago is within reach. This is a place where nature and humanity, history and reality are perfectly fused.




Anhui architecture with Miao and Dong elements in Longli town, Jinping county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, Guizhou province.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]




Dragon dancers with painted faces in Longli town, Jinping county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]   `




Painted-faced dragon dancers in Longli.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]


A girl with a painted face in Longli.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com]


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