Naxi Nationality

 Population and Distribution:
Naxi people mostly live in the Naxi Autonomous County in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, while the rest live in Sichuan and Tibet. Their population is 308,893 according to the 2000 census. In the name Naxi (also spelled Nakhi), Na means senior and honored and Xi means people.

 Language and Character:
Their language belongs to the Tibetan-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan phylum. In the past, they used a pictographic language called 'Dongba' and another called 'Geba'. In 1957, they designed characters based on the Latin alphabet and now most can write in Chinese. The Dongba Scripture (or Dongba Jing) that their ancestors left has recorded all facets of the Naxi life and is highly valued for posterity as a means of studying their character and history.
Naxi People in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan
Naxi People in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan
Dongba Characters of Naxi Language
Dongba Characters of Naxi Language
 Religion: 
Before the foundation of modern China in 1949, most of the people held the faiths of Dongba Jiao, believing that all have spirits and those spirits could never die. When they encountered significant events such as marriage, death, festivals, or disasters, they would invite a wizard to chant. Although there was Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity being taught there, few Naxi people turned to those religions.

 Life Styles: 
They live on farming, stockbreeding and handicrafts. Reaches of the Jinshajiang River is abundant in botanical resources such as trees and medicinal herbs. The Lijiang horse has also enjoyed the reputation for years of one of the 'Three treasures of Lijiang' which were presented to the official courts because of its ability to transport goods in mountainous area.

Their breakfast is simple and usually consists of steamed bread, but lunch and supper are often more sumptuous. They like to pickle pork. The pickled Pipa pork is famous for lasting several years.
Most of Naxi people believe in Dongba religion.
Most of Naxi people believe in Dongba religion.
Ancient Music of Naxi Nationality
Ancient Music of Naxi Nationality
 Festivals: 
Based on the lunar calendar, the main Naxi festivals are Chinese New YearQingming Festival, Dragon Boat FestivalMid-Autumn Day, and Torch Festival. Generally, these festivals are celebrated with worship and sacrificial activities.

 Other Customs:
They are warm and kind. After a hunt, they will share a piece of the kill with a casual passerby. When visited, they will prepare six or eight delicious dishes to treat their guests. Most of the young Naxi people insist that they have one spouse and usually they have a very complicated process to protect their monogamous marriage. But for those living beside Luguhu Lake in Lijiang, they still keep the 'walking' marriage which is the only remaining vestige of a matrilineal clan among all the ethnic groups of China.

 More Ethnic Groups in Yunnan Area:
Yi     Bai     Hani     Dai     Zhuang     Lisu     Jingpo     Blang     Nu     Jino
- Last modified on Sep. 27, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Naxi Nationality
Asked by Sallie Robinson from UNITED STATES | Apr. 07, 2015 17:28Reply
Name of Winged Diety
We visited Lijiang and saw many statues & pictures of a diety with wings, a round belly and the face of a bird but human arms. I never heard what it is called. Can you help?
Answers (1)
Answered by Sally from IRELAND | Apr. 11, 2015 02:03
10Reply


Salie, it is a diety in Naxi legends. Its name is Xiu Qu. Legend has it that Xiu Qu guards the Yi Ba Da Holy Tree together with the lion and the dragon. It says that Xiu Qu defeated the Dragon God for Naxi people.
Asked by Low from SINGAPORE | Nov. 12, 2013 07:43Reply
Nanxi Wheat Cake
How to make Nanxi wheat cake? What kind of dried vegetable is used? Do we have to pre-cook the minced meat first and do we use dried shrimps or just fresh cooked shrimps?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fiona from CHINA | Nov. 12, 2013 20:43
01Reply


There are different flavors of such cakes. You may refer to the shrimp ones. The vegetables needed are a lind of wild vegetable named Shan Mu Zha. Shrimp should be freshes ones and when making the cakes, you need to fry the shrimps. And the minced meat doesn't need to be cooked ahead.

But as for the whole procedure to cook that, I am not so sure.
Asked by Linda from UNITED STATES | Sep. 11, 2011 09:57Reply
When visiting Lijiang we had a breakfast food called Naxi Papa: looking for a recipe.
Answers (2)
Answered by Jamie from CHINA | Sep. 12, 2011 22:56
00Reply


It is called 粑粑,baba in Pinyin. It is made of wheat grown in highland. Wheat flour paste mixed with lard, then put stuffings of sugar, sesame, walnut kernal, etc inside. Then fried.
Answered by c | Oct. 17, 2013 02:08
00Reply


sounds great.
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