Lisus Rich Art and Culture

Singing and Dancing

Achi Mugua: Achi Mugua, which originated from Lancang River, means goats singing and dancing. It is a kind of self-entertained singing and dancing featured no instruments. There is a prelude at the beginning of every episode, no lyrics but only harrumph, deep and long, sounds like the goats singing in the mountain. There are male and female teams in the singing and dancing, and each team has one person to lead the chorus. They sing on everything from the ancient legends to the daily life. Sometimes they sing the songs passed down from their forefathers, sometimes they sing improvisatori songs. If the two sides were so well matched that neither could gain the upper hand, the singing and dancing would last for several days and nights. Achi Mugua dancing including more than ten gestures. Both the sound and the gestures are imitation of the goat and some nomadic routines. The dancing shows their simplicity and pure love to nature.

Wa Qiqi: Wa Qiqi means step dance or foot dance. The dancing team encloses a big circle and dances in the clockwise direction. To dance this foot dance you need to stamp your foot, kick, raise your foot and twist your hip with the music. There are totally eighteen episodes in Wa Qiqi, from which you could know lots of legends on the origin and development of the Lisus.

Leaves Flute: Leaves flute is a kind of instrument which is popular among some ethic groups such as Miao, Buyi, Zhuang, Hani, Lisu etc in central south and south western China. But different ethic group choose different leaves. For instance, the Zhuangs like to choose litchi leaves and longan leaves.

Qiben: Qiben is an ancient instrument popular in the Lisus. Its shape is a little bit like a small guitar with four strings. The strings are used to be goat gut, but now mostly are metal strings. Qiben is one of the major instruments in the Lisus.

Spring Shower in the Hot Spring

The Lisus in the Nu River Area still keep the custom to have Hot Spring Bath in spring. When spring comes, the Lisus will pack up and stay at the place near hot springs for several days. Men take bath in the up hot spring pools and female in the down spring pools, which are far from each other. Some may prefer to take a shower in the spring for five or six times, because they believe only by this way they can get rid of diseases and improve their immune. It is also a good way for them to refresh and relax. Actually, more than one hundred years ago, it was popular among the Lisus to come to the hot springs around Liuku. The Lisus singers from several miles away would also get together to sing and give performances. At this time, you will see various white camps around the hot springs, bright campfire lighted with mild sweet rice wine and delicious food around. You will enjoy lots of wonderful songs, too.

Cover the Lover with River Sands

It is an ancient romantic way for young men and women to show their love to each other. When the Geshi Festival comes (Geshi means new year), young men and women in Fugong will gather on the Nu River sands. Some dance, and some sing, unrestrained and freely. Girls or boys, three or five in a group walk around the sands to look after their Mr Or Miss Right. Once they find their lovers, they will dig a hole and bury their lovers. Then their company will leave the two alone. The buried one will be soon be recovered, and then they are in love. Usually girls are very gentle and mild, but on the sands, girls are all spicy and generous. So it is really good chance for the young to find their destinations.

Lisus are burying their lovers with sands. (Photo from

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