Shaxi: Ancient Trading Center Becomes Quiet, Peaceful


Women of China (English) - - EDITOR'S PICKS - GUO PIN and GU JIANHAO 郭品顾建豪

Shaxi Ancient Town is situated in Jianchuan, a county in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, in southwestern China's Yunnan Province. The town dates back to the late Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC). It has a history of more than 2,400 years. Shaxi in 2005 was named one of China's historical and cultural towns by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The ancient dwellings and folk customs of the Bai ethnic group have attracted tourists to Shaxi.

People in Shaxi mastered the technique of smelting bronze more than 2,400 years ago. Shaxi has been the economic and cultural center of Yunnan Province since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Shaxi was an important trading center along the ancient Tea Horse Road (a network of caravan paths, through the mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, in southwestern China, in ancient times).

As Shaxi was the nearest trading center to the salt wells in Yunnan, it was the "salt capital" in Yunnan in ancient times. Shaxi was also the center of the Buddhist culture in the Nanzhao (738-902) and Dali kingdoms (937-1253), in southwestern China.

Xingjiao Temple is a must-see scenic spot in Shaxi. The temple was built during the reign of Emperor Yongle (1360-1424) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is the largest and most representative Acarya (a branch of Tantric Buddhism) temple in China. Many people of the Bai ethnic group in Yunnan believe in Acarya. The buildings in the temple combined the features of the architecture of

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