San Yueh Kai Fair, YunnanSan Yueh Kai Fair, Yunnan

“The Third Month Fair, Sa Wa Dser in Min Chia or San Yueh Kai to the Chinese … is famous all over Yunnan, and seems to be very ancient, as it is said to have been instituted by King Pi Lo Ko of Nan Chao in the eighth century.”

 “Tibetan (horse) dealers come down to Ta Li in very large numbers for this fair, stopping on their way to the tea districts further south, for it is partly with the cash from the sale of their horses here that they buy the tea further south. … In order to show the merits of their horses a kind of “race meeting” is held on the third day of the fair, under the west wall of the city, … The races are not competitive in the European manner, but consist of displays of horsemanship by one rider at a time. An official air is lent to the proceedings by the presence of the Magistrate of Ta Li and some of the officers of the garrison and other notables. … The horsemen, not all of whom are Tibetans, ride past the official tent at full gallop, and the points are awarded for the appearance of the horse, its paces, and the horsemanship of the ride. The winner is presented with a red silk flag inscribed with the official approba2on, while the best of the other compe2tors get similar green flags. This flag is then pinned to the saddle of the horse, and the coveted distinction considerably enhances its value.”