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 Story Teller

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Tie-Dye Technique of Bai Ethnic Nationality in Southwestern China’s YUNNAN province.

Tie-dyeing has a very long history, dating back to over 1,000 years ago. Tie-dyeing skill, known as “skein tie” in the ancient time, is a kind of old textile dyeing workmanship in China. As a traditional folk technique of the Bai ethnic group, tie dyeing was listed in 2006 into state-level Intangible Cultural Heritage. Traditional tie-dyeing products are mostly inspired by local scenery and based on blue and white colors.

Bai tie-dyeing alone uses Radix isatidis, a Chinese medicinal herb used to dissipate heat, remove toxic substances and diminish inflammation and detumescence, as a dyeing agent. It once grew in wild profusion, but high demand of tie-dye articles has depleted the herb, and the Bai people now cultivate Radix isatidis in mountainous areas.

Tie-dyed fabrics are in more muted shades than those that have been through a chemical process. They are also less apt to fade and more hardwearing. The medicinal qualities of the Radix isatidis dye make Bai tie-dyed garments and bedding comfortable to wear and soothing to the skin, especially in hot weather.

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Hometown of Tie-Dye- ‘XI ZHOU Ancient Town’

A hidden gem in Dali- Xi Zhou Ancient Town, a birthplace for the Bai Ethnic Nationality.

Zhoucheng, a Bai ethnic village in Xi Zhou Town, is famous for Chinese tie-dyeing, where almost every family has dye vats and practices tie dyeing. The Bai women here learn the skills since their early childhood.

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Bai Tie-dye

The natural blue extracted from Indigowood roots with ancient crafts.

Handmade Tie-dyeing is a long process, and has 17 different steps.


The Land for National Tie-dye I Traditional Culture of Bai People

First, they have to design the pattern and draw it on the virgin cloth.

Then they start knotting, washing, soaking, dyeing, rinsing, dyeing again and again and then drying the cloth in the sun.

When it’s dry, they have to take out the stitches and unfold the cloth, wash it again and dry it, bleach it and dry it again.

The last step is sewing.

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 A bunch of happenstances, for the ancient Tie-dye art.

Every thread goes to the unique pattern.

There is a vast repertoire of tie-dye patterns, including flowers, plants, birds, mammals, fish, insects, folk characters and symbols, most of which are wishes for auspiciousness and good luck. The 1,000 or more tie-dye designs also reflect Bai history, culture, customs and aesthetic preferences.

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Hani Terraced Field

This top is inspired by the unique scenery of the terraced field in Hani ethnic county in Yunnan, China.

The cultural landscape of Hani Terraced Field is located in Ailao Mountain, Yuanyang County, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. Hani Terrace has a history of more than 1,300 years and is large in scale. 

Over the past 1300 years, the Hani people have invented a complex ditch system that transports water from the hills to the terraces at all levels. Local residents worship day, month, mountain, river, fire, forest and other natural phenomena. They live in 82 villages between the top forest and terraced fields. They also created a complete farming system that included buffalo, cattle, ducks, fish and apes, and supported the main local cereals-red rice. This flexible eco-system is based on a special and ancient social and religious structure, reflecting the high degree of harmony between people and the environment in terms of vision and ecology.

The Ailao Mountain in Yuanyang County is the core area of Hani Terrace. The local terraces are built on the hillside. The terraces are like a contour line from the foothills of 2000 meters above sea level to the foot of the mountain. The maximum number of stages is more than 3,700, and the steepest slope reaches 45°. The landscape is considerably magnificent. Hani Terrace, now is the representative work of Yunnan terraces and is known as “the most beautiful mountain carving in China”.

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‘XI QING Cape’ - Traditional Clothing of Naxi Ethnic Nationality


The Naxi Ethnic group has a population of about 250,000 people. It is divided into two dialect groups. An eastern one and a western one located in Yunnan, Sichuan, Tibet provinces. Dongba culture refers to Naxi ancient culture with a history of nearly a thousand years.

The Naxi Ethnic group has its own written language called "Dongba Characters". They include over 1,400 single characters and are considered unique "living pictographs". They are the only living people to use hieroglyphics in the world. Since the early twentieth century scholars from both China and abroad have been studying and translating this unique ancient form of writing in the hopes of better understanding ancient China and its culture. In the 1980's, the Dongba Culture Research Bureau was set up to help further the study of the Naxi ethnic group and its culture

Naxi women wear blue, white or black wide-sleeved loose gowns, long trousers, purple or dark blue waistcoat. There are embroidered laces on the collar and sleeves. Black pleated aprons tied at the waist and wear embroidered shoes.

"Wearing stars and moon" is the feature of the traditional Naxi dress. There are seven round circles and vertical ears on the goatskin waistcoat. Symbolizing the Naxi women are hard-working for supporting their family.


‘XI QING’ Cape

Seven round embroidered discs representing seven stars.



The cape is used to prevent chafing when carrying baskets on their backs. Married women comb their hair into a bun and wear a round cap, while unmarried women wear their hair in braids coiled on the back of their head and wear a handkerchief, or a black velvet cap.


Naxi People


Naxi Women

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