History of Naxi People

According to historical documents, the forefathers of the Naxi people were closely related to a tribe called "Maoniu Yi" in the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220), "Mosha Yi" in the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and "Moxie Yi" in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Naxi, Lisu and Tibetan people were reading newspaper together. (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

Between the early 10th century and the middle of the 13th century, production in the Lijiang area underwent marked changes, as agriculture replaced livestock breeding as the main occupation of the people. Scores of agricultural, handicraft, mineral and livestock products were turned out, and the county presented a picture of prosperity. During that period, a number of slave-owning groups in Ninglang, Lijiang and Weixi counties gradually grew into a feudal manorial lord caste.

In 1278 the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) established Lijiang Prefecture representing the imperial court in Yunnan Province. This resulted in closer links between the Lijiang area and the center of the empire.

In the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the leader of the Naxi people, named Mude, was made the hereditary chieftain of Lijiang Prefecture, exercising control over the Naxi people and other ethnic groups in the vicinity. Throughout the Ming Dynasty, the hereditary chieftains from the Mu family kept taxes and tribute flowing to the Ming court in the form of silver and grain. The Ming, in turn, relied on the Mu family as the mainstay for the control of the people of various ethnic groups in northwestern Yunnan Province.

Later, with the development of the productive forces, buying, selling and renting of land began to take place in the Naxi areas, marking the beginning of a landlord economy.

From 1723, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), hereditary local chieftains in the Lijiang area began to be replaced by court officials and the hereditary chieftain surnamed Mu thus became the local administrator.




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