The Charm­ing Lugu Lake

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - This Is China - By Tao Wu

Ihave seen the mag­nif­i­cent and lim­it­less Dongt­ing Lake, the vast and fogg y Taihu Lake an and the ri rip­pling and charm­ing W West La ke. But none can erase my long­ing for the mys­te­ri­ous and f fan­tas­ti­cal Lugu Lake. The Lugu Lake w was called the Haizi of the grot­toes, also kn known as Zu­o­suo Lake. It is com­monly known as the bright lake. The loca lo­cals call it “Xie Naimi”, mean mean­ing the mother lake. This lake is sur­rounded by a group of moun­tains which are be­side Yongn­ing Vil­lag Vil­lage( in the north­ern Ningla Ninglang County) and on the left side of the Yanyuan County in Liang­shan Au­tonomous Pre­fec­ture of Sichuan Prov­ince.

The deep­est fresh­wa­ter lake span­ning two prov­inces

Dalu­oshui vil­lage next to the Lugu Lake is 73 kilo­me­ters away from Ninglang county and 200 kilo­me­ters away from Li­jiang. It is a bound­ary lake shared by the two prov­inces: Sichuan and Yun­nan. Two-thirds of the lake is in Sichuan and one-third in Yun­nan. The Lugu Lake cov­ers an area of more than 50 square kilo­me­ters, with an el­e­va­tion of 2,690 me­ters, an av­er­age wa­ter depth of 45 me­ters and the deep­est point is 93 me­ters un­der the sur­face. Its trans­parency is up to 11 me­ters and the max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity is of 12 me­ters. The lake fea­tured with clear wa­ter and is re­garded as the high­est Lake in Yun­nan prov­ince, one of the deep­est fresh­wa­ter lakes in China,

and also the largest nat­u­ral fresh­wa­ter lake in Sichuan prov­ince, known as the “Pearl of the Plateau”.

There are five is­lands, three penin­su­las and one sea­wall is­land in the Lugu Lake. Their shapes are dif­fer­ent from each other, but all are green as jade. The lakeshore bends treach­er­ously and is cov­ered by a dense for­est. The Lugu Lake is also seems like a gi­ant sap­phire or a ra­di­ant mir­ror hid­den by the cre­ator. The moun­tains, the wa­ter and the plants here are all en­dowed with the fe­male im­age de­picted in fairy tales, mak­ing the lake be­come the ver­i­ta­ble “coun­try of women”.

There are so many things that at­tract tourists to fo­cus on this mys­te­ri­ous land, such as the pic­turesque scenery of the Lugu Lake, the unique an­cient folk­cus­tom relics of the ma­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety, the story of “Noah’s Ark” in Chris­tian­ity, and the fas­ci­nat­ing drum and bell of the La­maism.

The Hei­wawu Is­land, Li Wu Bi Is­land and Rig Is­land on the Ninglang side are the three most at­trac­tive spots in the lake with the high­est sight­see­ing val­ues. They are known as the “Three Is­lands in Penglai”. Hei­wawu Is­land is lo­cated in the heart of the lake, 2,500 me­ters away from the lakeshore. Full of trees, this is­land is the habi­tat of wild ducks and mi­gra­tory birds, which are al­ways on the move. It was also the wa­ter palace of the for­mer Yongn­ingchief­tain Ayun moun­tain. It is said that Amer­i­can ex­plorer John Rock once trav­eled and lived here.

Liv­ing by the moun­tains and wa­ter

The Moun­tain of the God­dess is 3,754.7 me­ters above sea level and is the high­est peak around the lake. Look­ing far away from the south and cross­ing the lake, you may find that the Moun­tain of the God­dess looks like a lion ly­ing be­side the lake with her head held high. For that hat rea­son, peo­ple also call it the Lion Rock. In the Mo­suo mythol­ogy, this moun­tain is the em­bod­i­ment ment of the god­dess Gem. m. The shape of the lake is s like a half-moon. Only when you climb the god­dess ddess moun­tain can you see the panoramic mic view of the Lugu gu Lake. Dur­ing the he Zhuan­shan fes­ti­val, al, the Mo­suo peo­ple e will go to the moun­tain to wor­ship the god­dess. From the hill­top to the foot, the crowd climb­ing ng the moun­tain looks like a long, col­or­ful olor­ful dragon, proudly singing the “God­dess Song”. g”.

Xiaolu­oshui Vil­lage, seated on the foot of Moun­tain of the God­dess, is lo­cated in the north­ern part of the Lugu Lake and is one of the old­est vil­lages of the Mo­suo tribe. The bound­ary of Yun­nan and Sichuan is right at the en­trance of the vil­lage. The road around the lake is clearly cut into two sec­tions there: the stone pave­ment be­longs to Yun­nan prov­ince and the as­phalt pave­ment is in Sichuan prov­ince. It is a tra­di­tional and an­cient Mo­suo vil­lage with only 24 house­holds left. The

an­cient res­i­den­tial build­ings and the orig­i­nal eco­log­i­cal folk cus­toms of Mo­suo have been well pre­served un­til now. In re­cent years, Xiaolu­oshui Vil­lage has been opened to the out­side world, be­com­ing a base for tourists, ex­perts and schol­ars to ex­pe­ri­ence the Mo­suo style.

The Black Lama Tem­ple built on the Cao­hai Lake is a re­li­gious place of the old­est sect in Ti­betan Bud­dhism, “Benbo sect” (also known as Black Sect), and the cer­e­mo­nial ac­tiv­i­ties here are held reg­u­larly, be­com­ing a grand fes­ti­val for the Mo­suo peo­ple.

Mo­suo tribe vil­lageis lo­cated in the deep­wa­ter area along the lakeshore. Board­ing from there and pass­ing the Cao­hai Lake, tourists can­gointo the “Bright Lake” (the deep wa­ter area of the Lugu Lake) and di­rectly steer to Boou Is­land (also known as the Princess Is­land), then boat­ing along the Boou Lake Bay and fi­nally land­ing in Luowa Vil­lage. There is no travel routethat can be more char­ac­ter­is­tic than this.

A sec­u­lar ver­sion of coun­try of women” with a spe­cial mar­riage cus­tom

The Mo­suopeo­ple of Naxi na­tion­al­ity who have lived be­side the Lugu Lake for gen­er­a­tions have unique mar­riage cus­toms. The heads of their fam­ily are all women, and their fam­ily mem­bers are all of ma­ter­nal ori­gin. Among the fam­ily mem­bers, the an­ces­tors are all grand­moth­ers from ma­ter­nal side and their sib­lings. As for the moth­ers’ gen­er­a­tion, there are only moth­ers, and their broth­ers and sis­ters. The chil­dren of this kind of mar­riage call their fathers “Abo” or “Ada” .

The coun­try of women men­tioned in the folk­lore of all coun­tries in the world now may only ex­it­ing in the Mo­suo. They still re­tain the ma­tri­ar­chal fam­ily sys­tem where fe­male are in charge of the fam­ily and bring up the next gen­er­a­tions, and the ma­tri­ar­chal clan mar­riage sys­tem (com­monly known as walk­ing mar­riage), which is “No mar­riage, as­so­ci­a­tion and sep­a­ra­tion are freewill”. To­day, monogamy is widely ac­cepted in hu­man so­ci­ety, but peo­ple liv­ing be­side the Lake still re­tain the “Axia” mar­riage which has the char­ac­ter­is­tics of pair­ing mar­riage in an­cient China. “Axia” is the mu­tual name of both men and women who have a love re­la­tion­ship among the Mo­suo peo­ple in this area. They are also called “Xia Bo” and “Axia”. The dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture of this kind of mar­riage is that there is no wed­ding be­tween in­ti­mate part­ners, and both men and women be­long to their orig­i­nal fam­ily. The form of this kind of mar­riage is that the man vis­its and stays at the wo­man’s home, and returns to his home the next morn­ing. Be­cause it is a mar­riage re­al­ized by the man’s “walk­ing”, the lo­cals call this re­la­tion­ship a “walk­ing mar­riage”. The chil­dren be­long to the wo­man, tak­ing the mother’s sur­name, and the man does not have to bear the re­spon­si­bil­ity for nur­tur­ing kids. Gen­er­ally, a man or wo­man has only one “Axia”, and only when they are in­com­pat­i­ble with each other will the re­la­tion­ship be cut off, and then they can find an­other “Axia”. There is a wooden bridge that spans the Cao­hai Lake and con­nects the vil­lages on both sides of the lake. It is more than 300 me­ters long and pro­vides a con­ve­nient pas­sage for “Ax­ias” to per­form their “walk­ing mar­riage”, which is why it is also known as “the first love bridge in the world.”

Great land­scape with even bet­ter del­i­ca­cies

In the fer­tile land of the Lugu Lake, lo­cal food cul­ture is deeply rooted in na­ture. Just en­ter a wooden raft; the hos­pitable

owner will pro­pose a bowl of Sulima to you (it’s a Mo­suo wine made by tra­di­tional crafts­man­ship). It is pro­duced by mix­ing a va­ri­ety of grains such as high­land bar­ley, bar­ley, wheat, buck­wheat, hazel­nut, corn, mil­let, etc., cooked in a large pot and baked un­til the bot­tom layer smells like crispy rice. It is then put aside un­til it cools down, and mixed with self-col­lected and self-made wine, put it into a bam­boo strip-made­fer­men­tor and set it in­doors, fer­ment­ing. When the al­co­hol is slightly dis­trib­uted, the wine is sealed in a jar for about ten days. Af­ter un­seal­ing the jar, the Mo­suo will mix some alpine spring wa­ter with the wine then drink the juice from an open bam­boo tube. This kind of wine is slightly orange, with a low al­co­hol con­tent and mel­low taste. What`s more, it also con­tains rich amino acids, vi­ta­mins and car­bo­hy­drates,thereby be­ing called “Mo­suo Beer”. It is of­ten used for the Mo­suo and Pumi peo­ple to wel­come guests, and al­legedly, drink­ing Sulima fre­quently can strengthen the spleen and pro­mote ap­petite.

If you are for­tu­nate enough to visit the Pumi and Mo­suo peo­ple on the shores of the Lugu Lake, you must have the chance to taste the leg­endary Lute-shaped pork at hearty­folk ban­quets. This kind of pork is salted us­ing a unique process af­ter slaugh­ter­ing a pig. It is made by re­mov­ing all bones ex­cept the skull, ap­ply­ing var­i­ous fla­vor­ings to the pork, then su­ture and pressed into a lute shape. Lute-shaped pork is of­ten salted dur­ing win­ter, and once it is made it can be saved for sev­eral years without go­ing bad, and is even used for medic­i­nal uses if saved long enough. Due to the unique process and the rich spices, Lute-shaped pork tastes oily but not greasy, and not only de­li­cious but also nu­tri­cious. It is a del­i­cacy used by Pumi and Mo­suo peo­ple to give as gifts and wel­come guests.

Baked dried-fish is made from a kind of fish named Span­ish Mack­erel liv­ing in the Lugu Lake. The cock­ing process is: cut the fish open or cut a small mouth into the ab­domen, re­move the in­ter­nal or­gans, sprin­kle some salt, pep­per and all spice, and then place the fish on the fire or in an iron pan baked slowly. When eat­ing, cook the fish on a char­coal fire or fry itin cook­ing oil. The taste is crispy and de­li­cious and this food is a kind of sac­ri­fice that goes with wine. For cook­ing soup, the baked dried-fish could be used to boil a milky white soup, which is thick in fla­vor, ex­cel­lent in taste and rich in nu­tri­ents. In the past, the car­a­vans who went out of­ten took a large amount of dried-fish in or­der to ex­change for what they needed with for­eign mer­chants.

“Qingna Manan” is a kind of fruit wine, which is a kind of oil squeezed by the Mo­suo peo­ple with the wild plant Prin­sepi­au­tilis Royle. It is the orig­i­nal cre­ation of the Mo­suo peo­ple in this area. For thou­sands of years, Mo­suo peo­ple drank Qingna Manan and used it as health care and med­i­cal sup­plies. The late spring and early sum­mer is the ripen­ing sea­son of the green fruit. Crowds of Mo­suo girls will hang the bam­boo-made bas­ket on their waist, hold wooden hooks, and col­lect the green fruits in the dense green thorn for­est. Af­ter wash­ing, dry­ing, grind­ing, steam­ing and other pro­cesses, the clear and slightly golden fruit wine is ex­tracted, giv­ing off a rich fruits fla­vor.

The Lugu Lake com­bines the tran­quil nat­u­ral land­scape with the unique hu­man­is­tic land­scape per­fectly. More­over, the Mo­suo peo­ple have an im­por­tant place in the world cul­tural her­itage with its spe­cial an­cient cul­ture, cus­toms and rich spir­i­tual con­no­ta­tions.

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