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Dali Shaxi

Shaxi is the only surviving historic market town on China's ancient tea horse road. Guests can stroll through the old streets, step onto an ancient theatre stage, walk along the same paths as the horse caravans, and browse in the artisan shops in Sideng square.

Shilong Village: This village of the Bai ethnic group is Linden Centre’s partner in Shaxi. Shilong village is the original hometown of Bai music and the pilot teaching base for Mandarin and Bai language education. Culinary delights include the region’s best tastes such as wild mushrooms, cured ham, white kidney beans, herb teas and high-altitude honey. The Bai are warm and genuine as they share their authentic folk traditions with all of our guests.

In 2004, Shilong was selected as a demonstration village of ethnic culture in Yunnan Province; in 2013, it was selected as one of the top traditional Chinese villages.

The idea for rammed earth buildings came from the local resources.  We were simultaneously striving to establish a regional identity between the local and non-local communities. As an environmentally friendly option, rammed earth has always been a respected construction material and when combined with the rubble masonry foundation, rammed earth walls can prevent water erosion. We introduced the grading system to traditional rammed earth, improving the ratio of the rammed earth mixture and its construction techniques which allowed us to install floor to ceiling doors. The completed rammed earth wall is smooth and shows a faint metallic luster in the sun. When viewed from afar, it presents an overall hue that is harmonious with nature; when viewed up close, one can see the intricate details left by the craftsmen.

Shibaoshan National Forest Park: Shibaoshan (or Shibao Mountain) has the precious Danxia landform which consists of red bedrock with steep cliffs. Danxia landform are unique rock shapes  found in China.  Made of red-coloured sandstones and sedimentary rock which date back to largely the Cretaceous age, these weathered stones resemble the figures of bells, arrows, lions, elephants, and more. With lush pine forests and assorted stones, the Shibaoshan National Forest Park is especially known for its Shizhongshan grottoes and cliffs.

The Shizhongshan Grottoes can be reached by a 1.5 hour hike or twenty minute shuttle ride from our hotel site. Primarily created in the late Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), the grottoes were excavated for more than 300 years from the Five Dynasties to the Southern Song Dynasty.

The Shizhongshan grottoes are one of the first batch of national key cultural relics protection units announced in 1961. The valuable sights of unity between religion and state during the Nanzhao Kingdom (738-902 A.D.), Avalokiteshvara, and “Ayangbai” female divine worship sculptures, are among the many mysteries hidden in this cliff.

Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival of Bai Ethnic Minority in Jianchuan County, Dali — In 2008, the Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival was registered into the Second National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. According to historical records, the Shibaoshan Folk Song Festival dates back to more than 1,000 years ago. The “mountain flower style”, or the Bai antiphonal singing style, can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty.

During the Folk Song Festival, the Bai people from Dali, Eryuan, Lijiang and Lanping come in large crowds, men and women of all ages to sing love songs to one another. The Bai youth come to find true love, the elders reminisce about the past. The festival has provided valuable information for the studies of arts, ethnology, anthropology, history, archaeology and aesthetics.

Jianchuan Wood-carving — In 2011, Jianchuan Wood-carving was registered into the Third National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. After absorbing the culture and production technology of the Han people and other nationalities, the Bai ethnic minority gradually formed their own unique and exquisite wood-carving skills.

The content of Jianchuan Wood-carvings is mainly composed of flowers, plants, and animals, as well as fairy legends and stories such as the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea and Eight Immortals Celebrating Their Longevity. The decoration of wood carving pattern is influenced by traditional Chinese culture, but still retains strong Bai cultural symbols, especially patterns like the lion and phoenix.

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