Monday, September 23, 2019
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Black Dragon Pool

black-dragon-poolWalking north from the Old Town of Lijiang, exactly at the foot of Elephant Hill, is the Black Dragon Pool (Heilongtan), an influx of limpid spring.

Since the water of the pond is as green as shining jade, the park of Black Dragon Pool, which was built in 1737 during the Qing Dynasty, is also entitled the Jade Spring Park (Yuquan Park).

black-dragon-pool01Somewhat idiosyncratically known as Black Dragon Pool, the Jade Spring Park to the north of Lijiang derives its name from the waters that sparkle like jade and are as clear as spring water. The entire park is green with grass and shaded by swaying willow trees. Under the Shuocui Bridge, a waterfall creates a constant roar as it cascades downstream.

At the far side of the pool, there are renovated buildings used for art exhibitions, the Moon-Embracing Pavilion, with its own white marble bridge across the water, and the Five-Phoenix Temple, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). In a renovated complex on the hillside, there is the Dongba Research Institute and a small museum with Dongba scrolls and artifacts on display, including such invaluable treasures as the "Dongba Scroll Painting" and the "Art of Dongba Painting." Dongba culture originated in the polytheistic Naxi religion, which incorporated elements of Lamaism, Buddhism, and Daoism. The Dongba scriptures comprise a series of more than 20,000 books, done in Naxi pictographs, along with more than 2,000 hieroglyphs - a form of writing invented by the Naxi people more than 1,000 years ago. The name itself, Dongba, is the name applied to the shamans of this culture - wise men who combined the functions of witch doctor, scholar, craftsman, and artist. So far, 1,500 volumes have been translated at the Dongba Research Center in Dayan. Some have been published. These works are important ethnographic texts, providing some of the only information about the history, language, and social and religious customs of the Naxi people. In recent years, more and more domestic and foreign scholars have come to Dayan to use the facilities of the institute for research projects about the Dongba culture.

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