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Picturesque Southwest

In the mountains and forests Or Yun- Gui Plateau, scattered in Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and the south of Sichuan Province of the south- west of China, many national minorities are living there, having beautiful and splendid natural scenic spots as well.

Some people say that this is a colorful world for the dazzling sorts of costumes and adornments of different nationalities; and some people say that this is the moul- ding world for its sublime snow moun- tains, torrential water in the gorges, wa- terfall dropping directly from very high cliffs and the different shapes and styles of houses and cottages; some people say that this is the source of vitality for the grand festivals and activities of the wor- shipping the sun and the moon.

The low floating clouds and mist, the downpour of cataracts and waterfalls as fine as beaded curtains and as thick as ice poles appearing in front of us are the views of the great Huangguoshu Water- fall, being 81 meters wide, about 68 meters high, on the Baishui River in Guizhou Province. The effusive water falls down sharply and stirs up high waves splitting around, sometimes with rain- bows actoss it, sometimes presenting il- lusoty flickering. Without one's own ex- perience there, one may have no idea of the violent water, and know nothing about the superlative craftsmanship of the great nature.

By visiting the residential place of the Dong minority in the southeast of Guizhou Province, one can often see a kind of tower-shaped construction in the mountain fastness or beside the villages.

This construction is built with huge Chinese firs without any nail or rivet, and the crossed poles, beams, the oblique hanging and straight supporting, all fin- ished by dovetailing or with dangling poles, yet the consttuction is firm and compacted.

Usually the first story is in square and the other stories above are mostly in polygon with upturning eaves.

On top of the tower there are glaze calabashes, and the spinal edge with smooth curl formed an angle.

A "Kuangu" - a kind of drum hanging on the top story is for gath- ering the folks to discuss issues. The Dong people have been living together under same family name, and usually one fastness has one family name and one drum tower. If one fastfless has several family names several dtum towers will be built. The visitors can know some- thing about the family names just by see- ing the symbols of the family names. The dnull towers built in seclusion or in rows, all natutally present the specific and dif- ferent constructive features and has been the must place to visit in Guizhou.

Luflan Stone Forest is the nearest and important place to be visited in Kunming. The mountains there are steep with stones afld peaks in fantastic shape or appearance; the black stone mountains are standing one after another with poles piercing into the sky. In the distant view, these mountains and peaks look like a splendid and magnificent wide forest, so named Latge Stone Forest.

The Large Stone Forest is the cream of the Stone Forest scenic spot with the famous Sword Peak standing in green water like a sharp sword pointing to the sky.

The water coming from a hidden river is like a clear mirror or a small piece of jade inlaid among the peculiar stones and peaks. There is a pach downscairs leading to a secluded spot with quite dif- fetent scenery. The small stone foresr and the large stone fotest are connected and between them there is a grassland of sev- eral mu in area which rate flowers and plants grown. The small stone forest at- traccs people to pay a visit because there is a peak known as iishima Peak. The Sani people there regard this high and pictur- esque peak standing by the water, as the embodiment of che pretty girl Ashima.

Everty year on 24th of the sixth lunar month, the bonfire will be lit in the Torch Festival. The Sani people atound the peak, make contests in wrestling, pole climbing, riding and shooting, singing and dancing all night.

Dali is the key junction of commu- nications from the northwest of Yunnan to the southwest, and the location of the capital city of the Nanzhao Country in ancient time. Up to now the south and north city gate towers and many other constructive remains are still well kept. Walking among the white wall and black tile of the houses of the local residents, appreciating the delicately dyed and sewed products by girls of the Bai mi- nority, leisurely enjoying the combined quietness and comfort formed by Cangshan ifl the west and Er Hai in the east; and be embraced and soothed by the bright sunshine on the placeau, no one can defly the graceful bearing made by the munificence of the three towers in Chongsheng Temple and the legend of the Butterfly Spring.

ln the northwest of Dali and at the border of Tibet and Yunnan, there is a peak covered by snow all year still un- conqueted by man. This is Taizi snow mountain, the highest peak in Yunnan of about 6,740 meters above sea level, located in the border ofthe Zang Autono- mous Prefecture in Diqing. Owing to the Hengduanshan range from the north to the south, the flowing Jinsha Rivet, Nu River, Lancang Rivet, the plants there are vertically distributed with azalea in full bloom. Mingyongyi - the large glacier known fot its lowest sea level (2,6OO meters) is like a running and roating river or flood water instantly fixed and frozen by a kind of superman power, which forms into a gtand and amazing crystal scenic spot and leaves an ever lasting memofy on those who are able to reach to its foot and see-it with their own eyes.

Li Rivet is the residential place of Naxi Minority, where the famous Dongba cultute was bred and developed. It situates by Hutiao Gorge ofJingsha River and the First Bending of Yangtze River.

Up it connects the Taizi Snow Mountain in Diqing and down it goes to Dali, Kunmiflg and Ruili. The name it- self presents its elegance and gracefulness.

On the south the Yulong Snow Moun- tain looks like a dtagon swallowing clouds and mist, high and steep, impos- ing and magnificent, covered with silver snow to show its superb splendor. On its south there is Heilong Pond. Its branches are divided into many brooks and flow thtough the whole city.

It fotms the fea ture of the south of Yangtze River on plateau: "Clear water ofeach family is po etic, weeping willow in each yard is like a picture".

The gray brick houses of "three walls with a screen wall", a "quadrangle with a yard" bear the features ofthe quad rangle of the Han people and are also similar to the houses of the Bai people, yet the national constructive features are well displayed. Here the mountains, wa ters, roads and dwelling houses are all well combined, the artificial surround ings and the natural environment are wonderfully matched as if they are otigi nally created by the nature. "It is not the souch af Yangtze River, yet it is better than the south of Yangtze River".

Leaving the gracefulness of the Li Biver, visitors'can go to Lugu Lake on the plateau, where is the juncture of Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, by way of Ninglang to experience its Purify and simplicity, and they can be rewarded by a better undentanding ofthe nature, wild ease, clearness and purity of the plateau and mountains in the southwest.

The "Azhu" marriage style - the walking marriage system based on the maternal relationship is the main reason why the Lugu River and the Mosuo residents at trart the anention of the world. It is not exaggerated that everything about Lugu River is related with the gentleness, ma tetnal love and the legend about woman.

The pigsty shaped boat (also known as canoe) used on the river comes from the legend about woman, even the lofty Lion Mountain on the north bank of the river is related with a goddess, who with no husband had a marriage (the Athu style marriage) with several male gods in the mountain. On the river one can see the distant Lion Mountain really looks like a lying beaucy whose head, neck, breast, legs are all in charming shapes, and her pretty shadow, reflected by water, looks like a lady taking bath, and stirs up one's imagination.

During the festival activities of many national minorities in the south west,the Torch Festival of the Yi people in Daliang Mountain in Sichuan and the Water-Sprinklineg Pescival of the Dai people in Xishangbanna are mosc atttac tive for theit pleasing cetemony to the god of fire and the sun, water and the moon.

The Torch Festival is for the memory of the Yi people's ancestor the fire god and the red color among the other two yellow and black used on the adorn ments and wates of the Yi people is the symbol of braveness.hardness and vigor and the worship ofthe sun; while the rev elry and excitement on the Water-Sprin- kling Festival of the Dai people is the repayment to the bestow of the nature (The most popular saying about the Water-Sprinkling Festival is that seven fairy maidens in the moon killed their relatives for the people and blessed them to have good weather for the crops).

The Yi people live in the mountains and forests and the Daliang Mountain stretched in an unbroken range has tempered the intrepid dispo sitiofl of this nation. The worship of the power and athletics cer tainly becomes the natural com bination of the legend of God of the sun with the living space.

As the Dai people have lived on the flat land and the water fields, the crisscrossed network of the ir rigation channels and ditches, the bam boo cottages, and the enchanting moon light all form a hazy view. The saying that the Dai women are made of water should be regarded as proper.

The two main different tendencies, "yang" and "yin", hardness and softness of the cus tom and culture of the nationality in the southwest will be gradually experienced by each visitor.

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