Lijiang Dongba Museum locates in the north of Black Dragon Pool Park, about 2 kilometers north from the Lijiang Ancient Town. Established in 1984, it was originally named as Lijiang Museum, which is the first country-level museum in Yunnan Province. In 1999, it was renamed as Dongba Museum. The museum plays an important part in protecting and carrying forward the mysterious Dongba culture of Naxi minority groups.
About Dongba Culture
Dongba Culture refers to the over 1000-year-old Naxi minority culture, the Dongbaism, which is the main region Naxi people believed in, the ancient books written in Dongba language, the traditional technology in paper-making, craftsmanship, architectures, and various forms of art.
In the historical changes, the thoughts and religious traditions of Dongba culture had been rooted in Naxi people’s daily life in various aspects, especially at the heaven worship ceremony, the traditional wedding, and the funeral.
Nowadays, there are over 1,400 characters and symbols in Dongba literature that are still used by local people. On August 30, 2003, the Dongba classical literature was listed as a written world heritage by UNESCO.
What to see in Dongba Museum
Dongba Museum was built mainly in accordance with the traditional Naxi people’s house, which is in the courtyard style. Naxi people made full use of the unique landform and environment, from north to south, created various residential houses at different times.
The traditional Naxi dwelling houses are arranged in chronological order. People can see the ancient cave house, the nest house, the tent, the stilted building, the Muleng dwelling. In each house, people will find cultural relics that reflect the productivity of Naxi people in different periods.
Now Dongba Museum collects more than 12,000 cultural relics, 2,500 of which are precious objects and materials of traditional, ancient, and extinct Naxi culture. The objects include Naxi clothing, jewelry, and over 1,000 scrolls of pictograph scriptures about astronomy, literature, geography, religion. Also, traditional Naxi architectures are on display, including caves, wigwams, wood cribs, and modern style Naxi buildings.
People can also see religious performances in the museum. The performers dress in traditional costumes, and they can revivify the process and decorum of the ancient religious rites, to worship heaven, gods, and wind. It is a good way to know their life, their traditional habits, and festivals.
The exhibitions, such as the Naxi Dongba Culture Exhibition and Lijiang Ancient Town Cultural Heritage Exhibition, show the cultural development of Naxi and provide a good perspective to learn Naxi people.