Based on extensive fieldwork and documentary research, this book is a chronicle of the musical history of Lijiang County in Yunnan Province, southwest China. It focuses on Dongjing music, a repertoire borrowed from China's Han ethnic majority by the indigenous Naxi inhabitants of Lijiang County. Used before 1949 in ceremonies of the Confucian-influenced ritual Donjing associations as well as in secular entertainment, Dongjing music was a key example of the Naxi minority's assimilation of Han culture over the last 200 years. Prized for its complexity and elegance, it helped define social relationships, as proficiency in the music and membership in the Dongjing associations often signified high social status and cultural refinement. It in a stunning new development, since the late 1980s, Lijiang's Dongjing music has become a major factor in the county's huge tourism industry, and has reached international concert halls.
The first study in English on Naxi music, this book sets Dongjing music within Lijiang's wider musical landscape, and is unique in providing a complete history of music in a single county in China over the twentieth century. It integrates individual, local, and national histories with musical experience and musical change.
Ethnic-minority music in China provides a vivid example of the tremendous cultural changes over the past century, and minority traditions continue to evolve as China encourages ethnic diversity within the unified socialist nation. China's policies toward minority arts and the increasing impact of tourism are well illustrated by this Naxi case study. The book also featured companion website with many of the music examples discussed in the text.