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A stroll through tradition in northwest Yunnan

Updated:2018-08-07 12:01:02   chinadaily.com.cn

A park near Lijiang's Najie Street covers an area of 400,000 square meters, featuring a sea of flowers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A street in Lijiang city enables visitors to discover ancient charms, ethnic culture and folk art. Pei Pei reports in Lijiang, Yunnan.

A visit to Lijiang's Najie Street is a journey through the ethnic cultures of Yunnan province.

Visitors can meet national-level intangible-culture inheritors in person to see how they live and learn how to create local handicrafts.

Duan Guoliang, who's in his 70s, is one of the inheritors who hosts visitors and answers their questions. He's known for creating wood carvings according to the tradition of the ethnic Bai people of Jianchuan county.

His masterpieces include a wooden bed and a dresser he made for the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II's use during her 1986 stay in Yunnan's capital, Kunming.

A park near Lijiang's Najie Street covers an area of 400,000 square meters, featuring a sea of flowers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

He has put a lot of effort into decorating his shop with his works.

"I think the shop is a good platform to show our woodcarving skills and promote the art form among more travelers," he says.

"I enjoy teaching tourists how to do some simple techniques."

Li Xu, who's a chief marketing officer of a cultural-tourism business, was impressed by Duan's instructions.

He paid 180 yuan ($26) for an hour long lesson and spent half a day sculpting a wooden spoon.

"It's a basic procedure, but I found it to be really difficult," he says.

Li's job requires him to travel to destinations around the country to learn about their character. He believes that intimate contact with traditional ethnic cultures is Najie's unique feature.

Nearly 40 shops line the 800-meter-long street. Buildings are constructed in the ethnic Naxi style, which is actually an amalgam of the architectural conventions of several local ethnic groups. The wood-and-stone structures are capped with tiled rooftops.

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