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Dongba Culture Museum


Dongba Culture Museum is a museum in Lijiang City, Yunnan, China which deals with the Dongba culture of the Naxi (Nakhi) people.

The Naxi is a minority with a long history and a brilliant culture. With a population of 300,000, this group lives mainly in Yulong County, Lijiang City, Yunnan. It has become known worldwide or having kept its own ancient and unique Dongba Culture and thus claimed to be a small ethnic group that has created a grand culture.

The Dongba culture is a most inclusive term referring mainly to the language and scriptures. The Dongba language is actually composed of 1,400 picture-like characters and symbols that are still used by Dongbas, researchers and artists of the culture. It is by now the only living hieroglyph in the world and is regarded as a precious cultural relic of mankind. On August 30, 2003, the Dongba classical literature was accepted as a written world heritage by UNESCO.

For better protection, research and development of the Dongba Culture, in 1984 the Naxi Dongba Cultural Museum was under at the Black Dragon Pool of Lijiang. The museum has more than 10000 Dongba cultural relics and various other historical relics and offers the "Dongba Culture Exhibition", thereby attracting more than 100000 visitors each year. Meanwhile, it also compiles and publishes Newsletter of Dongba Culture and has established the Lijiang Naxi Dongba Cultural School. For its outstanding work over the past years, county museums in China, awarded the honor of "Advanced Cultural Unit in China", and listed as one of the bases for patriotism education of the province.

History of Dongba Culture
The Naxi ethnic group has a long history, and its origin can be traced back to the ancient nomadic Diqiang tribe. The majority of the Naxi have settled in the northwestern part of Yunnan as a compact community after long years of migration. Now, the Naxi population in Lijiang exceeds 200,000. In the ancient city of Lijiang and surrounding villages, traces of the unique Naxi historical culture and folk customs can be found.

Just as the ancient culture of other ethnic peoples in the world, the Dongba culture is a religious culture. It includes pictographic records, drawings on different sorts of materials, music, dance, sacrificial rituals and folk customs. Created more than 1,000 years ago, the Naxi pictographs are still used today. For instance, more than 20, 000 volumes of the Dongba Sutra are written with such pictographs. The sutra is regarded as an encyclopedia for the study of the culture of the Naxi ethnic group.

The most representative artistic legacy of the ancient pictorial art of the Naxi ethnic group includes timber slat painting?paperboard painting, bamboo painting and scroll paintings featuring celestial beings.

As the Dongba culture is so unique and enriched, lots of scholars in the world have been attracted to collect, investigate and study it over a century. The Dongba scriptures are the core of the Dongba culture. As a result, both domestic and overseas scholars have collected a considerable number of copies of Dongba Sutra over the process of their research into the Dongba culture. At present about 30,000 copies are collected in the world, of which some 10,000 copies are in the United States, Germany, Britain and France, and some 20,000 copies are in Taiwan, Nanjing, Beijing, Kunming, Lijiang and Zhongdian. A total of 7,836 copies are collected by the libraries of the US Congress, Harvard University and University of Washington.

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