Friday, March 1, 2013

Kunming, China

Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, is known as 'the City of Eternal Spring' for its pleasant climate and flowers that bloom all year long. With a history of more than 2,400 years, it was the southern gateway to the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Today it is the political, economical and cultural center of Yunnan as well as the most popular tourist destination in southwest China.

Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Some 26 ethnic minorities such as Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai, Hani and more inhabit the region. Each group has its own featured festivals such as the Torch festival of Yi people, the Golden Temple Fair and so on.

 One of the nice features of this production was the LCD screen off stage that explained the origins and meaning of the various ethnic dance traditions. I was surprised to learn the meaning attached to the drum and the drum beater. Has something to do with fertility rites and male & female body parts...enough said.

It was impressive to see, within seconds, the whole stage filled with drums and vivid dancing and percussive action.

There are 55 ethnic minorities in China. This show highlighted just a few of them. It was a thing of beauty to behold the richness of such a colorful heritage. The choreography, light design, staging and costuming made this one of the high-point experiences of our whole trip. It was as good, if not better than a Riverdance performance. I was surprised to see a production of this calibre tucked in far-away Kunming, China. It would have fit perfectly in the major Chinese cultural center park we visited in Shenzhen.

Photos can't begin to impart the joyful exuberance of this ethnic dance. Pure, unbound joy in action!

I'd heard about the famous peacock dance and was pleasantly surprised to see it performed as the finale of this fantastic show. This dancer performed a flawless solo peacock dance. The stunning grand finale was a MASSIVE, colorful peacock tail that emerged out of the audience...continued up and filled the giant stage...and then floated and disappeared over an up-stage mountain. 'Twas a breath-taking grand finale. So glad we saw it.

I was surprised to see this baby-friendly Mama guardian Lioness. All over China her paw is on top of the little one, holding it in place. Not this mama. She seems to be more trusting and lets her little one sit up and enjoy the sights. It would appear that a different parenting attitude may exist in this region of China.

Really?...another shrine?

I'd like to meet the fellow who weilded this monster sword. I wonder who the unfortunate victims were. 

The Lady of the Lake....Chinese style

They said there was a giant bell at the top of this 3-story temple so, of course we had to hike up to see it. 

We made it to the top!

So this is what a Chinese roof looks like up close from above!

Something about carrying the weight of the world on your back?

Might this be the god of multi-tasking?
And another...

A throne this nice needs to be shared.  But seriously, do you see yourself relaxing in a chair like this?

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