Finding More Magic In Yunnan, In An All-Muslim Village, Part Two

by hermes7 on October 14, 2012

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I was hungry after exploring villages by Erhai Lake all day–in Yunnan, a little north of Dali. So I headed into a mom & pop grocery shop in the Muslim village which I had just discovered.

The neighborhood’s cleanliness and natural beauty had already impressed me. I was now going to meet its people.

The woman at the counter and her customers invited me to sit with them as I snacked.

All were elderly and cheerful. They were speaking a different language than Mandarin, so I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. But they still welcomed me.

After refueling, I explored more of the village, and everyone was just as friendly.

These two merry men were sitting in front of a house on one of the many clean residential streets. The school was a few doors down, and several children were playing in the yard.

Most homes in the village had paintings on their outer walls. This is customary around Erhai Lake, but this town blended Islamic and Chinese styles.

Chinese and Arabic calligraphy harmoniously mixed. So did the Chinese and Middle Eastern scenes above the writings. Islamic art in China is greatly under-appreciated, and it deserves many books.

Upstanding people in a clean neighborhood on a hillside over a sparkling lake. This image became even stronger as soon as I left and entered the next village.

I always greatly enjoyed the many traditional Chinese villages I explored, but this one’s dirty sides were out in the open. These poor guys were within hearing range of the Call To Prayer from the Mosque–born on the wrong side of the tracks. The dump was a block away, and a big pile of garbage reeked in the hot sun.

I always found mainstream Chinese villages friendly too, but the Muslims took more care to keep their neighborhood spotless. So I left full of positive impressions, and with a lot of respect for the people I met. The government might be hiding this village from tourists, but its folks are doing just fine on their own.

In the next post, we’ll explore more of the infinite riches of Islamic art in China.

You can also read more about this village in Yunnan Magic, Part One.

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