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Cangyuan Culture

Lincang Municipality is located in Southwest Yunnan. It has a total population of about 2 million, consisting of 8 counties. Its name is derived from Lancang River (Mekong River) in its east part. Lincang's Cangyuan County is one of the major Wa-inhabited areas in Yunnan Province. The culture of Wa Minority in Lincang is the biggest appeal to the outside world. Main attractions include Cangyuan Cliff Paintings(沧源崖画), Wengding Wa Primitive Village(翁丁原始村落), Guanyun Buddism Temple(广允佛寺), Nangun River Nature Reserve(南滚河自然保护区), Banhong Anti-British Battle Monument(班洪抗英纪念碑),Menglai Cliff(勐来崖厦)Menglai Palm Beach(勐来董棕林),Canglong Cave( 藏龙洞),the Stone Buddha Cave(石佛洞), and the High Tower standing on the borderline in Banlao village. Wa is one of the Resident Nationalities in Yunnan Province. Wa culture a long history, rich in content, forms, covering all aspects of life, is the sum of rare valuable human resources. However, the Wa culture is only limited to anthropology, ethnology, sociology, history, and demographic pale in comparison to theoretical and applied research from a tourist point of view of the Wa culture, Wa culture as a tourism resource not received enough attention. Wa cultural tourism resources development is in its infancy, with a larger space for development and research value.  

 




Wending Wa Orinigal Ethnic Villages 翁丁原始村落


Wengding Wa ethnic village of Cangyuan County was honoured "Top 10 Cultural Village of China", at the Second Conference on Cultural Industry and Urban Development of China, recently held in Pujiang County of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province. The conference was cosponsored by Asia Fortune Forum, China Society of Urban Economy, Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Expo (CBE), and Pujiang County Government. It unveiled the annual top honour list of culture industry for 2012, in which Wengding Village is included.As one of the 12 tourist draws of Nanguihe River Nature Reserve of Lincang City in the southwest of Yunnan, Wengding is an over-400-year-old Wa ethnic village; it has so far the best-preserved primitive Wa ethnic community in Yunnan Province. In 2011, the cultural tourism zone of Wengding Village received about 0.2 million visitors (person-time) in all, realising a revenue of 0.4114 million yuan (appr. $64,400).Wengding Wa original herd small villages iCangyuan Wa Autonomous County Weng small village, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, rich ethnic customs, Weng dingzhai retain the original architectural style and residential Wa Wa traditions of the original, is by far the most well-preserved primitive village herd, Lincang customs humanities is the must-tourism attractions.Wengding, which means “connected rivers” in the dialect of the Wa ethnic group, is a Wa village 30 kilometers away from Cangyuan county seat. It’s made up of 98 families or about 400 villagers. Wengding Village has kept primitive Wa residential architectures and ethnic culture. It has been the best-conserved primitive ethnic community and the must-see tourist site in Lincang Municipality. Cangyuan is normally referred to as “Ah Wa Shan” because it is inhabited by most of the Wa ethnic members in China. It’s located in the southwest of Lincang Municipality. Some traditions and customs of Wa.




Wood-drum 木鼓


Wood-drum(木鼓) from altar to stage In the religious ceremony of Wa people, a wood-drum is considered the most sacred due to its magic connection with God. Nowadays, the wood-drum is regarded as their talisman. For a festival or celebration, Was would perform Wood-drum Dance to express their happiness.



Combing 梳头发

 

The Wa Youth’s Marriage Custom Wa youths in Cangyuan have their unique way of expressing love. Usually a Wa lad will invite the girl he loves to comb for him when sitting on their own bamboo stools and whispering to each other. When being “combed”, the Wa lad will offer tokens like a comb, a towel, a silver bracelet or silver ear-rings.




Hair-swaying Dance 甩发舞


Hair-swaying Dance(甩发舞), a show of Wa feminine beauty The Hair-swaying Dance reveals the Wa female beauty and symbolizes their maturity. Wa women traditionally keep long hair, and put on Hair-swaying Dance hand in hand without musical instruments.

 



Buffalo-worship 牛崇拜


Buffalo-worship(牛崇拜), replacement of Head Custom In old times, Was used to have the head custom, using the heads of men to make sacrifice to the God of Rice. But it has been replaced by buffalo heads that are aslo a symbol of wealth. On an important ceremony, Was will hold a buffalo-butchering ceremony.


 

New Rice Festiva 新米节

 New Rice Festival" is the day when paddy is mature and people celebrate happily good harvest and taste new rice. Because of different climate, the maturity time of grain in different places is different, so the time to celebrate the festival is not unified among villages or even every household. But it was often held in the seventh or eighth lunar month (the ninth or tenth month in Wa calendar) in the past. The date is determined according to the maturity situation of grain or the day, which has the same name with any one of the 12 symbolic animals when the parents or grandparents died. The intention is to invite ghosts of ancestors to return back, taste new rice together with family members, and enjoy happiness together. They also ask the ancestors' souls in heaven to protect their descendants and promise happy family, good weather for the crops and good harvest. In order that Wa compatriots in different places could celebrate the "New Rice Festival" together, in 1991, the Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County and Ximeng Wa Autonomous County decided together that the "New Rice Festival" is fixed on the 14th of the eighth lunar month for Was.



Monihei Carnival 摸你黑狂欢节

"Monihei Carnival" of the Wa ethnic group,Wa is an age-old and mysterious minority with strong people. And the people there have worked hard for more than 3000 years and have created its unique glorious culture. As one of the only two Chinese Wa autonomous Counties, Cangyuan County in southwest China¡¯s Yunnan province has 3000 year-old cliff painting, Nan¡¯gunhe Nature Reserve, highly-protected original ecologies and abundant animal and plant resources. 

In 2009, the activities of the "Monihei Carnival" of Wa ethnic group in Cangyuan County mainly involved a grand opening ceremony of song and dance performance -- "heavy colored Wa Mountain ", ethnic arts tour, a crazy and passionate "making you black" activity with tens of thousand of persons¡¯ participation, ancient cliff painting worship, songs about life in Wa Mountain, campfire party, and Wa songs concert.

 It is said this festival takes its meaning from the custom that the people smear the pot ash, ox blood and mud on other persons' face to frighten the evils and seek peace. The players can use natural paints to smear each other and pray for each other. As a traditional custom of the minorities in China, "Monihei Carnival" has attracted a lot of tourists both from home and abroad, creating a total income of 100 million from the tourism industry.

2009 Chinese Wa minority's "Monihei Carnival"2009 Chinese Wa minority's "Monihei Carnival" ("Monihei" in Chinese means "making you black by smearing something on your body".) in Sigangli Village will be ceremoniously held in Wa Autonomous County£¬Cangyuan from May 2nd and May 3rd. The activities of the Carnival mainly involve a grand opening ceremony of song and dance performance -- "heavy colored Wa Mountain ", ethnic arts tour to be joined by the audience and tourists, a crazy and passionate "making you black" activity with tens of thousand of persons¡¯ participation, ancient cliff painting worship, songs about life in Wa Mountain, Campfire party, Wa songs concert and so on. This Carnival will last for several days which is full of surprise and expectation.

Wa is an age-old and mysterious minority with strong people. And the people there have worked hard for more than 3000 years and have created its unique glorious culture. As one of the only two Chinese Wa autonomous Counties, Cangyuan County has 3000 year-old cliff painting, Nan¡¯gunhe Nature Reserve, highly-protected original ecologies and abundant animal and plant resources.

It is said this festival takes its meaning from the custom that the people smear the pot ash, ox blood and mud on other persons' face to frighten the evils and seek peace. The players can use natural paints to smear each other and pray for each other. As a traditional custom of the minorities in China, "Monihei Carnival" has attracted a lot of tourists both from home and abroad.

 Until now, "Monihei Carnival" has been held for 5 times, whose echo is quite well, thus be listed in top 10 national festivals in Yunnan, which are the most amazing and influential festivals in Yunnan.

 You can not only experience the joyful atmosphere which is full of ethnic features, but also can appreciate the various cultures and the natural and beautiful scenery in Cangyuan. Cangyuan is with pleasant weather and many trees, where you can walk in the famous cliff painting valley to appreciate the mysterious culture which is handed down by the ancestors of Wa, and you can have a visit to Wengding Village to taste excellent alcohol and experience the unique, extensive and profound culture of Wa ethnic group as well.




 

Cangyuan Cliff Paintings 沧源崖

The cliff paintings of Cangyuan is said to take on different colors as the time, weather and humidity change. According to the proverb of the local Wa and Thai people that the cliff painting changes three times a day: in the morning the color is red, at noon lighter and in the evening purple. Nowadays the paintings have already been designated as the key historical relic protection unit at the provincial level. 

Up to now, eleven painted cliffs have been found to scatter in the villages of Menglai, Dinglai, Mankan, Heping of Cangyuan County and the village of Mangguang of Dima County etc. Called Randianmu which means the paintings on the rocks in the local Wa language, these reddish brown ancient paintings were basically drawn on the grey limestone at the elevation of about 1, 500 meters. Measuring somewhere between one to thirty square meters, these primitive masterpieces are normally two to ten meters above the ground and include the images of animals, architectures, trees, boats, heavenly bodies like the sun or the moon, mountains and many abstract symbols etc. Human figures and lively life scene are also the important themes of these artistic works on the sharp cliffs. The eyes, nose and other facial details of the human face are normally omitted; the painters instead paid more attention to the depiction of the human body and limbs. Apart from artistic meanings and value, many important life activities of these human ancestors such as hunting, dancing, recreation and sacrifice rituals and suchlike are vividly displayed and recorded, which seems to bring the viewers back to those mysterious and remote prehistoric ages.  


 


The Wa language

Wa (Va) is the language of the Wa people of Burma and China. There are three distinct varieties, sometimes considered separate languages; their names in Ethnologue are Parauk, the majority and standard form; Vo (Zhenkang Wa, 40,000 speakers), and Awa (100,000 speakers), though all may be called Wa, Awa, Va, Vo. David Bradley (1994) estimates there are total of 820,000 Wa speakers. The Wa language formerly had no script and some of the few Wa that were literate used Chinese characters, while others used the Shan language and its script. Christian missionary work among the Wa began at the beginning of the 20th century first in the Burmese and later in the Chinese areas of the Wa territory. It was led by William Marcus Young, from Nebraska. The first transcription of the Wa language was devised by Young and Sara Yaw Shu Chin (Joshua) in 1931 with the purpose of translating the Bible. This first Wa alphabet was based on the Latin script and the very first publication was a compilation of Wa hymns in 1933,[8] the Wa New Testament being completed in 1938. This transcription, known as "Bible orthography" is known as lǎowǎwén (老佤文 )"old Wa orthography" in Chinese, and is now used mainly in the Burmese Wa areas and among the Wa in Thailand through the materials published by the Wa Welfare Society (Cub Yuh Bwan Ka son Vax, Cub Pa Yuh Phuk Lai Vax, Phuk Lai Hak Tiex Vax) in Chiang MaiA revised Bible orthography has been adopted as "official Wa spelling" by the central authorities of the Wa Special Region 2 in Pangkham which have published a series of primers in order to improve the literacy of the United Wa State Army troops. Also, after 2000 Wa people in social networks such as Facebook, as well as Wa songwriters in karaoke lyrics of Wa songs, use this Myanmar (revised Bible) orthography in its main variations. 


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