The population of the Naxi nationality is 278, 009. Most of the Naxi people live in Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County of Yunnan Province in close communities. The rest are scattered in Weixi, Zhongdian, Deqin. Ninglang, and Yongsheng counties.
Naxi women, living in Mull Eya Township, Sichuan Province, making hemp thread.
The Mosuos, a branch of the Naxi Nationality, show great respect to the old people especially old women. On festivals, family members can enjoy their meal only after a toast to the oldest woman.
In ancient times, the nomadic Qiang people, pasturing their cattle in the Yellow and Huangshui river valleys, moved southward to today's southwest Sichuan and northwest Yunnan and separated into several groups. One of them became ancestors of the Naxi people. In the Chinese historical documents, they were called "Mosha", "Moxie", or "Mosuo". In the Naxi language, "Na" means "respectable", while "Xi" means "people". After the founding of new China, they were generally called the Naxi Nationality.
It is said that the Dongba paintings on wooden slices have the magic power to bring natural pixies under their behest.
Naxi women living in Werxi area and their ethnic dress.
The Naxi language belongs to the Yi branch of the Tibet- Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan family. Since the Yuan and Ming dynasties, standard Chinese has been adopted, as the Naxis came into closer contact with the Han people. The ancient hieroglyphs, created by Naxi ancestors, were only used by their Dongba, the wizard, so it was called the Dongba language. The Naxis also have a syllabic script called Geba. As the language was only used in a limited area, only a few books written in Geba are left.
When a Mosuo girl is 12 years old, a rite to approve her adulthood is held in her maternal family. Standing on pig fat and a bag of grain, which indicate an ample life in the future, the girl is dressed by the most respectful woman of the family. After the rite, the girl is qualified to take part any tribal activities.
Located in the south of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Naxi area is mountainous with big rivers cutting through. The average altitude is 2.700 meters. In the southeast of Zhongdian is the Baha Snow Mountain and in the north of Lijiang is the snowcapped Yulong Mountain, which is noted as a depository of plants. There are more than 40 kinds of azaleas in this area. Rushing from north to south, the swift currents of the Jinsha River are stopped by huge mountains at Shigu Town, forming the first turn on the Changjiang River. As the water moves northeast impetuously, the Yulong and Haba mountains block the river, producing the world famous Tiger-leaping Gorge, which attracts more and more brave explorers each year.
The climate in the Naxi areu varies front cold to temperate and subtropical and makes it suitable for farming, forestry and pasture. The rare snow tea and the sturdy Lijiang horses are the world famous products.