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• Site Around City
 
 • Butterfly Spring • Erhai Lake • Mountain Cangshan • Dali Ancient City • Dali Autonomous Prefecture Museum • Dali Municipal Museum • Compound of Bai Minority in Xizhou • Three pagodas • Tie-dying in Zhoucheng • Ethnic Groups in Dali • Dali Festivals
 
Tie-dying in Zhoucheng
The Bai-style houses greet you as you enter Zhoucheng. Peddlers can be seen busily roaming the trade fairs. The special wedding ceremonies of the Bai People, the local Bai foods are some what unforgettable. In particular, you must not miss watching how the Bai people make their tie-dye cloths. Tie-dying is the traditional handicraft of the Bai. Everyone who comes to visit Zhoucheng must make the effort to see this handicraft. The tie-dyes are not merely daily attire of the Bai people - they are art pieces, considered as precious relics in Chinese art.
Tie-dying has a very long history, dating back to over 1,000 years ago. In the beginning, Bai people carried out tie-dying in their own houses. The material used is pure white cotton cloth; the dye color used is blue. The designs are simple, fade-proof and bucolic. Gradually, home-based workshops appeared and became so common that nearly every family had one. Working procedures became more and more complicated with increased demand. The first step involves drawing the colorful and diversified designs on each piece of cloth. Unlike other tie-dying designs comprising only dots and scrambled graphics, familiar features like flowers, animals and plants, e.g. bees, butterflies, bamboos and lilies are incorporated - wonderful and lively! The second step is to tie the cloth with thread - not too tightly not too loosely. Thirdly, it involves the dyeing of the cloth with the paint made of Banlangen (a kind of Chinese medicine). The smell is good for your skin and health. Finally, the threads have to be removed and the cloth hung out to dry. In Dali, all the girls have mastered the technique.
In recent years, "family factories" have begun to spring up. The choices and designs are richer than before - not single blue but blue, green,red, brown and so on. You can see flaming tie-dyed tablecloth, handkerchief, portiere and clothes hung out in the courtyards, waving in the wind. What attractive folk art! The delicate, colorful, unique and historical significance of the tie-dye cloth appeals to many travelers from abroad. Many foreign orders are received for the sale of these tie-dye cloths.
For those who are interested in Chinese traditional folk culture, Zhoucheng and Xizhou are places you have to visit. These two places have the most typical and deepest cultural characteristics of the Bai nationality. Zhoucheng Village lies near Butterfly Spring, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Dali on the main road, ruled by Xizhou Town. It is the biggest natural village of Dali, and also "the Hometown of Tie-dying".
Of course, Zhoucheng also has a lot of attractions besides tie-dying, such as interesting architecture, namely Bai-style houses, When you enter a Bai residence it is typical to find each laneway paved with flagstone, deviously in line, the entrance of which has a gate tower and screened walls. The ornamental gate tower, on which there are flying buttresses, carved beams and painted rafters, is an important feature in the architecture of Bai. Many giant green trees grow inside the village, spreading their flourishing branches and leaves just like a huge umbrella.
The local people are also very hospitable. You will always be welcomed to their homes for delicious tea and some special food.
 
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