Culture & customs
The reflection of the evolution of this culture was particularly obvious in ancient Lijiang town with highest chinesization, after the earthquake in 1996 and the rapid development of the ensuing tourism, Chinese Yunnan dialect gradually replaced the Naxi spoken language in the community of ancient city and became the mainstream speech, and the young Naxi couples also began to educate their children in Chinese. However, Naxi spoken language in the Lijiang ancient town was the default social communication tool before 1990, even if their children accepting Chinese language education in schools, but Naxi language was commonly used among the Naxi families and juveniles. The booming development of tourism in 1996 brought confidence to the people of Lijiang, as a consequence, Chinese dialect replaced Naxi spoken language and became a communication tool in Lijiang (ancient town) driven by commercial interests, which made the future of the traditional culture of Naxi much more severe. But now, with the popularity of Datiao song, Naxi Jingdi, auspicious Dongba Jirijing and other Naxi songs, the local Naxi culture is springing up again.
Gender customs
It just like the patriarchal society of Han Chinese today, it was the man who was the master in mostly Naxi families of Lijiang dam area, so Naxi women bore more housework and social obligations than the Han Chinese women which were different with the Mosuo female patriarchy in Lugu Lake.
In the ancient Lijiang town, it was quite common that the man who was forties years old grew flowers and kept birds, which left a impression on the people that Naxi people were too satisfied with the status quo and made no attempt to make progress, in fact, in addition to master the home, this was also related to the traditional business economy of Lijiang rather than handicraft economy. Naxi women had to not only undertake the housework, but also support the family, the original Square Street vegetable market in the ancient town, among which, the butchers and sellers were mostly middle-aged women, while the men usually took charge in collecting money and watching. In 1980s, the reporter of South China Morning Post saw the scene at the gate of ancient town, so that he concluded that the matriarchal customs were still reserved in Naxi community.
Before Mongolian conquered the Lijiang in 1253, both Naxi people in Lijiang and Mosuo people in Lugu Lake were matriarchal society, however, under the influence of Mu family which tended to the Central Plains of Chinese culture, Naxi families were affected by Han patriarchy gradually after 1253; in 1723, flexible officers of Han Chinese took over Lijiang ruled by Mu family, hence, a mass of Han Chinese values, including the patriarchal social norms and parents arranged marriage system became popular, Naxi women did not rule the family any more, moreover, the mortality rate of Naxi girl for love dead was soaring because free love and sex freedom was conflict with Chinese Confucian system, some men and women who decided to marry with each other without the approval of their guardian even moved to the Mosuo community across the Jinsha River to seek the love of freedom.
Naxi young men and women born after 1970s have follow traditional values no longer, just as younger generation in continents, they began to seek the free spirit from influenced by the influx of Western culture.
Religious belief
In history, Naxi people had ever believed in Buddhism, Lamaism, and Taoism, but they were different with some nationalities whose lifestyle was deeply influenced by religion, namely Naxi people did not sincerely believe in a certain religion. Even though in today's Lijiang, it is difficult to find out one devout believer in aged Naxi people. Dongba religion is a primitive religion of ancient Naxi, but it is a rich color of elite rather than a civilian religious color.
Language in Lijiang
Naxi spoken language was the main language in Lijiang and Naxi community of dam area. While in ancient Lijiang town, Yunnan dialect of Han Chinese (also known as Yunnan dialect) was the most popular language, but Naxi spoken language was used among family members of Naxi families in ancient town. The people of younger generation in Lijiang can speak fluent Mandarin; some young people engaged in the tourism industry are able to speak very good English. As some aged Naxi nationalities have received basic education in Western church school, so it is not a strange affair that the old man is freely communicating with the foreigners in the street. For instance, Xuan Ke, a celebrity in Lijiang, can speak fluent English which makes foreigners amazing. Driven by commercial interests, Chinese dialect replaced Naxi spoken and became a communication tool in Lijiang (ancient town), which made the future of the traditional culture of Naxi much more severe. But now, with the popularity of Datiao song, Naxi Jingdi, auspicious Dongba Jirijing and other Naxi songs, which means that the local Naxi culture is spring up again in Luoshui Village embraced by mountain of the goddess.
There are more than 2200 pictogram in Naxi pictograph, which express outline of one thing or one event using one simple picture, having rich characteristics of hieroglyph. They are different with the vivid pictures, which just use simple outline of the thing to express their meanings. These characters should be simple and one character should distinguish with a word another one.
Naxi has a total of more than 2400 phonetic symbols; the most are repeated variant Chinese characters, among which 500 phonetic symbols are commonly used. This kind of characters is only mastered by Dongba, and a small amount of Dongba scriptures are written with phonetic symbols.
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