Ulli Steltzer: Portraits of a Forgotten KingdomMay 21, 1999 - May 21, 1999
In a high valley, nestled against the jagged snowy peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Yunnan Province, lies Lijiang. Founded some 800 years ago, this ancient town is still home to approximately 245,000 Naxi people, one of the 24 recognized national minorities of the People?s Republic of China. They have a rich culture based upon a philosophy similar to Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Daoism. Aided by their remoteness, the Naxi have maintained many of their ancient traditions. These are reflected in their architecture, wood carving, brass and copper work, music and literature and in painting styles based on their unique pictographic Dongba script. The unique social customs of the once matriarchal Naxi give pride of place to women in managing business and commercial activities, while men take on many child-rearing duties and engage in gardening, poetry, painting music and storytelling.
Ulli Steltzer catches the richness of this culture in her sensitive lens. The result is a profound insight into a culture whose quiet power and awesome beauty she conveys to the viewer.