The Bai people have a long history and well-developed culture. They had close comtacts with the Han people as early as the Qin and Han dynasties, creating a brilliant national culture. 80% of the population of 1.39 million live in the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture around the Erhai Lake with exquisite scenery. The Bai people have their own spoden language but do not have a written one.
Dali, home of the Bais, is one os the oldest origins of culture in Yunnan province. The Nan Zhao and Dali Kingdoms were established in the Tang and Song Dynasties, being the center of politice, economy and culture in Yunnan. The Dali ThreePagodas, Dehua Stone Tablet, Shibaoshan Mountain Grottoes in Jianchuan county and Jizushan Mountain Temple Compex in Bingchuan county enjoy universal fame around the world. Dali is listed among the historic cultural towns in China. The scroll painting of”History of Nanzhao Zhong Zingguo”in 899 AD and the scroll painting of “Dali” in 1172 AD are known worldwide.
The Bai people hold white color in esteem and it is the honorable color of their native costume. Excellent in agriculture, the Bai people are also very good at marble mining, producing handicrafts and wood and stone carving.
The Bai native residential architecture is of a unique style. Three houses and one screen wall are arranged around a courtyard with another four small yards at each corner. The houses are primitively simpl, graceful and concordant with upturned eaves and bucket arches, colorful paintings and delicate carvings. They are traditional in style.
The Bai people are experts in singing and dancing. The March Fair, Raoshanling, and Torch Festival are all grand gatherings wigt a richness of content. The Rattling Stick, Octagoanl Drum, Dragon Lantern Dance and Bai Melody are all strongly traditional performance.
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