Ximeng Autonomous County for Wa ethnic group is located in the southwest of Yunnan Province and borders with Burma. Ximeng County is one of China's two autonomous counties of Wa ethnic group, 72% of whose population are Wa people.
The Wood Drum: Wa People's Devine Object
Wa ethnic group is a warmhearted people good at singing and dancing. Every Wa people can improvise to sing and dance in daily life, when farming or on festive occasions.
The wood drum is a unique percussion instrument of Wa people. It is made of coarse red bark well chosen from the depth of forest and called Kero in the Wa language. The wood drum enjoys deep and vigorous sound which can be heard even tens of miles away.It is not only an instrument for entertainment but also respected as a sacred object that is said to connect people and deity.
The Beautiful Washan Mountain
Ximeng County boasts plenty of rainfall and moist air. The sea of clouds amidst mountains is a miraculous landscape of the Washan Mountain. The best time to watch the sea of clouds is on the beginning of sunrise. Before the sun rises, the sea of clouds remains quiet. When the sun rises, thousands of sunrays shone on the mountains and the sea of clouds begins to move. As the sun continues to rise, the sea of clouds changes into waves of clouds, rolling and leaping up and finally transforming into separated clouds in the sky.
Wa people warship Nature and believe all things on the earth have spirits. This belief is beneficial to the protection of Ximeng's ecology. Today, the Washan Mountain enjoys everlasting greens and clean rivers, known as a well preserved natural reserve.
Mengsuo's Dragon Pond near the county town is a tropical lake of 16.7 hectares, with the average depth of 11.5 meters. Around the lake are old trees of one thousand years and moss. There is a beautiful legend about Dragon Pond. It is said that a girl changed to a bird. She stayed aside the lake and carried away tree leaves falling into the lake to keep it clean all years round. According to local people, the lake only turns turbid for three days every year and then turns clean. Mengsuo's Dragon Pond is connected with a lake in Burma 35 kilometers away; they wax and wane together.
The Mysterious Washan Mountain
Wa people had practiced primitive living and laboring until the 1950s. They lived in bamboo towers, used bamboo to channel spring water, kill the ox with spears to divine, and both men and women of Wa group bathed together in the same pond. Over the sweep of their long history, Wa people has nurtured their primitive and mysterious culture.
Wa people worship the ox and genitalia. Today, on big festivals or occasions, they still kill the ox with spears to pray happiness for their villages and families.
The Tea Culture of Wa People
Tea plays an important role in Wa people's daily life. It is said that in remote antiquity, the flood overwhelmed the earth and nothing was left except tea trees, bamboo, banana, red rice, the buffalo, the elephant and the little lark sparrow. When the flood receded, Wa ancestors used timbers and bamboos that buffalos and elephant carried to build houses, fed themselves with banana and red rice, and quenched their thirst and cured disease with tea. Thus Wa ancestors rebuilt their villages and prospered. Wa people love the buffalo and the elephant, because they struggled together in the time of difficulty. Wa people respect tea leaves as sacred objects, because tea leaves saved Wa ancestors.
Today, tea is still part of Wa people's life. They use tea leaves to pray peace and health for new babies; bury tea leaves together with the dead; wrap tea leaves and red rice when a lady takes a long journey with her children. And tea leaves are necessary objects in sacrifice rites.