Naxi, 纳西, refers to the ethnic minority group living in Lijiang Naxi Autonomous Country in the Yunnan Province in the southwest of China. Although most of the community lives in Lijiang, the rest are dispersed in the Weixi, Zhongdian, Ninglan, Deqin, Yongsheng, Heqing, Jianchuan and Lamping counties of the Yunnan province and the Yanyuan, Yanbian, and Muli counties in the Sichuan Province. The population of the Naxi minority is approximately 308, 839.
These counties have a “complicated terrain. There are cold mountainous areas, uplands, basins, rivers, and valleys, average 2,700 meters above sea level.” Therefore, the terrain is suitable for crops like “rice, maize, wheat, potatoes, beans, hemp and cotton.” The main profession of the community is agriculture.
Their common language is of the Chinese-Tibetan family. The Naxi people created a language of “pictographic characters, referred to as the “Dongba” script, and a syllabic writing, referred to as the “Geba script”. Due to the difficulty of the language, the government helped the Naxi community develop an alphabetic script. Thus, increasing relations between the Naxi people and other Chinese communities.
In terms of customs, women wear “wide-sleeved loose gowns, with jackets and long trousers, tied with richly decorated belts at the waist. They often wear sheepskin slung
over their shoulder, on which are seven stars exquisitely embroidered, with sun and moon symbols, one on each side.” These symbols illustrate the Naxi’s commitment to diligence. Men’s clothing is similar to that of the Han people. Celebrated traditions are the “Farm- Tool Fair, God of the Rain Festival, Mule and Horse Fair, Lunar New Year, Pure Brightness Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid- Autumn Festival, and the Torch Festival.”