Lijiang History

Sat in the northwest of Yunnan Province, Lijiang gains the name because it is near the Jinshajiang River (called Lijiang in ancient time). Lijiang Old Town is the center of Lijiang City where is a place Naxi nationality dominates here. With a history of 800 years, Lijiang Ancient Town began to take shape in Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and bloomed in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It got another name Dayan (Big Ink Slab) Town because it shaped like an ink slab. Lijiang has been the center of regional politics and national cultural education, and played an important role to the trade between Yunnan and Tibet, China and India.

Historical Development

According to historical records, Lijiang belonged to Shu Jun (ancient administrative region, districts as the center of Chengdu) of Qin Kingdom in Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.); it was under the domination of Yue Jun in Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.); Yunnan Jun in Three Kingdoms Period (220-280); it submitted to Dali Kingdom in Southern Dynasty (420-589) and ancients of Naxi people migrated here at this time.

Lijiang History: the ancient houses in Lijiang Old Town       1. Lijiang got the name in 1271 of Yuan Dynasty;
       2. Lijiang Tribal Office (one type of the agencies created to administer southwestern aboriginal groups) was established in Ming Dynasty;
       3. Lijiang Fu (ancient administrative region) was founded in 1723 of Qing Dynasty, which ended the hereditary rule from Yuan Dynasty;
       4. It was changed as Lijiang County in 1770;
       5. Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County was created in 1961 which was under the Lijiang district;
       6. In December, 1997, Lijiang was listed World Culture Heritage, which filled in the blankness that China had no historical culture city on World Culture Heritage;
       7. In April, 2003, Lijiang district stepped up to Lijiang City, and the former Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County was separated into Ancient Town District and Yulong Naxi Autonomous County.

Ancient Tea Route

It is no doubt that Lijiang is an ancient town, its history could trace back to Tang and Song dynasties. Ancient Tea Route was backbone road of “Southwest Silk Road”, and Lijiang was the most important market on this road. The tea leaf from Yunnan and Sichuan was sold to Tibet districts through Lijiang, and the golden and silver ornaments were the other way around. The blooming of trade brought out the splendid culture for Lijang.

Ruler of Lijiang

Lijiang History: Ancient Naxi MusicLijiang Ancient Town was constructed under the lead of ancestors of Mu Family in past dynasties. In 1254, ancestors of Mu Family submitted to Kublai Khan (the first Emperor of Yuan Dynasty). In 1382, the administrator of Tong’an Zhou (an administrative division in the Ming and Qing Dynasties) submitted to Ming Dynasty, and the first Emperor of Ming bestowed the surname Mu on him and hereditary rule to Lijiang, and Lijiang Tribal Office was established. With a distinctive and splendidly constructive style, Lijiang Ancient Town and Lijiang Tribal Office (also Mu Family Mansion) were the symbol of politics, economy and power of Mu Family. Lijiang Ancient Town is the only historical culture city without city wall in China. It is said that because the hereditary ruler of ancient Lijiang had the surname Mu (? in Chinese character), if to build city wall like a ?in Chinese character, that would be a ?, which meant unlucky.

Rich Culture

Since Kublai Khan stationed the army in Lijiang in 1253, there were more culture exchanges, such as Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and Christian from the 20th century, which emerged with local culture like traditional Naxi music, Dongba religion, Dongba character and painting and so on. These culture influences add rich meanings to Lijiang.

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