Day By Day

Monday, June 27, 2011

Return to China -- Part 20, The Bai Tea Ceremony

Then we went to Xizhou, the "Bai Minority Village" where we were treated to an exhibition of folk art and dance. The "Bai" are one of fifty-five officially recognized surviving minorities in China. Taken together they make up only eight percent of the population -- the rest are Han Chinese. I was reminded that the Han displacement of other ethnic groups was a lot like the European settlement of North America, and had similar results. Today there are fewer than two million Bai left in China.

Isn't it amazing how often "picturesque" is associated with poverty.

Here we are at the "Yan Compound". The Yan were once the largest and most powerful clan in Dali. Today their estate is a tourist destination and a famous example of traditional Bai architecture. The compound is actually four houses grouped around a central courtyard. Prior to entering everyone touched this symbolic decoration for luck.

In the courtyard looking toward the tearoom where we would once again drink the three teas and watch a performance of traditional Bai dance.

A broader view of the courtyard, complete with local and national guides.The blue roof tiles are supposedly a distinctive feature of Bai architecture.

Inside the tea room, a peek at the dressing area.

The show begins...

Four of the dancers. I suppose they do this several times a day, every day and are a bit bored. It showed on their faces throughout the performance.

Watching the dance, drinking tea and supposedly [according to a published description of the "Sandaocha" tea ceremony ] contemplating our existence.

That's all, folks. Watch your step as you leave and have a nice trip to your next destination.

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