Archive for the ‘Naxi’ Tag

thePULL: Quentin Roosevelt II & Lijiang at the Rubin Museum of Art   Leave a comment

Hey a Roosevelt was here in Lijiang.

I did a little post earlier on Quentin Roosevelt II (29 years, 47 days; November 4, 1919-December 21, 1948), and here’s a little reminder if you’re in the New York area to get an introduction of the exclusive Dongba, half a ways around the World from the home of the Dongba : Lijiang.

 (above) Photo taken by Q. Roosevelt II in 1939, early 1940s. via The Library of Congress.

See the original article written by Mr Roosevelt “Quentin Roosevelt – In the Land of the Devil Priests pg196-209” (pdf).

New York’s the Observer Maika Pollack explores the rare Dongba history by the first exhibit of the Naxi outside of China via the Quentin Roosevelt collection, according to Pollack, describing the heaven to hell scrolls of the Dongba and the history of Q. Roosevelt.

But continue reading to the Cindy Ho comment, co-curator of the exhibit, in which corrects mislead information from Pollack, defying the journalist regarding “leaving China was tricky” and “Quentin Roosevelt’s loot” and “Roosevelt’s Collection is the most complete”.

Exhibit ends September 19th 2011 at Rubin Museum of Art…
… or just visit Lijiang, as much of Joseph Rock’s collections are located in Lijiang.  The modern dtomba (Dongba) will always pale in comparison to the true mystique of the Dongba – pre-industrial revolution… as with much of the world’s artifacts.
Experience the past.

Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

thePULL – Torch Festival 火把节   1 comment


Fire. The element that can destroy whole cities, the burning spirit of a dancing life.

For the minority groups of Yunnan and Sichuan, the Torch Festival 火把节 (Huo Ba Jie) is one that worships just that – Fire.
EDIT: Occuring on July 25th 2011, and every 6th month, 24th day of the lunar calendar, the Torch Festival is one to see.

[Remember the basic safety tips when travelling to remote areas:
–   Get a local speaking guide.
–   Stay indoors during the night. Safety is number one.
–   Make sure you or your guides and friends bring medicines
–   Safeguard your things!
–   Boil your water, even if it comes from a bottle]


For the Pumi nationalities in Ninglang County (宁蒗, northeast of Lijiang 丽江市, Yunnan), the Pumi worship the Goddess of Fire, named Ang Gumi with a grand celebration for her kindness. As we have yet to experience the activity for our first time, the following is an excerpt from while we await the arrival:

On the day of Torch Festival, the Pumi nationality in Ninglang County usually holds sacrificial activities to praise the Goddess of Fire. It’s said that the Goddess of Fire worshiped by Pumi people is called Ang Gumi, who is originally the female ancestor of Mosuo nationality. For the sake of the happiness of her offspring and the neighboring Pumi nationality, she once stole fire from the Heaven Palace with her body being a torch so as to bring fire to the Mosuo and Pumi people. In order to remember her kindness forever, the Pumi nationality then made the day when fire was brought to the world as a festival to sacrifice the goddess.

On early festival morning, the people of each village will plant a huge pine tree symbolizing the Goddess of Fire. Then the trees are put up with small torches, the number of which shall be equal to the population of each village. In the afternoon, after animal sacrifice is offered to the “incarnation” of the goddess, the eldest lady in the village will light up the “incarnation”, while other participants will each get a torch from the tree and light it up. After that, led by the old lady, everyone will perform the Guozhuang Dance in praise of the goddess’s greatness. Then the people in groups will sing and dance around the village, field and mountain forest with torches in hand.

” Other activities like song and dance parties, horse races, bullfights, arrow shooting, wrestling, tugs-of-wars and swinging etc are also held during the festival. And there are trade fairs going on. In some areas, various religious rituals are performed to pray for a harvest.

In a horse race of the Yi people in Yunnan, torches are used to form multiple hurdles for riders to get through;
the Hani people in Yunnan traditionally attach various fruits to torches with strings. When the strings are broken after the torches are ignited, people scramble for the fruits for good luck.
For the Lisu people in Sichuan, the festival is an occasion for holding grand torch parades. Big torches are carried by the procession, which is like a fire dragon. If several processions from different directions meet, it is a tradition to swap the big torches with one another.

Dubbed “the Carnival of the Orient”, the Torch Festival is a traditional and age-old grand festival among some ethnic minorities in China.”

We will get back to you when the celebration happens, or join us when it does.
Sparks will fly ~


Event and History: Naxi Culture on Display in NYC – Quentin Roosevelt’s China   1 comment

One of the few explorers and documenters of the Lijiang (Likiang, Lichiang, 丽江)  history, Quentin’s quest through the west brings back some more history of Lijiang’s culture and Dongba life. His pictures are all original, different from those of Peter Goullart and Joseph Rock, but still relevant in showing the history of the area. Currently in use by the Rubin Meseum of Art in New York, the pictures currently cannot be extracted for public online display. So please visit the exhibit and post some helpers here to share the historic culture in NYC and beyond!
Although more modernized, much of Lijiang’s landscape is the same (and in colour!).

Quentin Roosevelt’s China
@ Rubin Museum of Art, NYC 

Quentin Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt went to the Lijiang area for 10 days and brought back multitudes of art and items from the traderoute center of the Naxi.

May 13 to Sept 19 2011.
Location: Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street New York City, NY 10011
Contact: Tel: 212.620.5000, Fax: 212.620.0628, Email:

(See site  for more information about the display and giving an introduction on the history with New Yorkers)
(Excerpt below is from The, a community media outlet for the New York area – Cheers!)

Quentin Roosevelt’s China: Ancestral Realms of the Naxi

How much did you get done during your last 10-day vacation to a place you’ve never been? In 1939 — the height of the Sino-Japanese War — 19-year-old Harvard art history student Quentin Roosevelt (grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt) set off for the remote region of Lijiang, China, in search of the mysterious ancient culture of the Naxi. After four months of travel, he reached the mountainous region on the Tibetan border and spent 10 days assembling what was to become one of the most complete collections of Naxi art outside of China. Culled from that collection, “Quentin Roosevelt’s China” is the most comprehensive exhibit on religious art of the Naxi ever assembled. Roosevelt’s art is displayed alongside the collection of legendary botanist-explorer Joseph Rock (the first Western explorer to extensively study the complex religious and linguistic traditions of the Naxi). Ceremonial funeral scrolls, ritual cards and ceremonial manuscripts are among the pieces on display. Through September 19, at The Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St., btw.; 6th & 7th Aves.). For hours and admission info, call 212-620-5000 or visit

Get Closer.
Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa 

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