Past, present of Yanjing people in E Tibet

2009-12-27 08:21:00 | From:

Blobzang Dhondup from Yanjing Village, Mangkam County, eastern Tibet's Chamdo Prefecture, owns a family-run hotel with Tibetan characteristics.

The hotel, named "Ancient Salt Predestination," is near the office of the Naxi Ethnic Township Government, and is very quiet as it is about 50 m from the street.

Brine pans are seen in this undated photo in Mangkam County, eastern Tibet's Chamdo Prefecture, photo from

Yanjing is inhabited by multiple ethnic groups, with the Naxi and Tibetan ethnic groups constituting the majority.

As the village is located on the border shared by China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet Autonomous Region, the locals do not differ much in their folk customs. Take Blobzang Dhondup for an example. It is hard to tell if he is of the Naxi or Tibetan ethnic group by his name.

Brine pans are seen in this undated photo in Mangkam County, eastern Tibet's Chamdo Prefecture, photo from

Blobzang Dhondup's hotel is nice with decorations of ethnic characteristics on an iron gate. Inside the yard is a building with a combination of Tibetan and Naxi styles. The yard is not big and yet has flowers and ripe fruits. It gives people a sense of returning to the nature.

In the living room of the house is a large LCD-TV, which has access to dozens of channels.

Blobzang Dhondup has two sons: one is studying in a middle school in Lhasa and the other at a school in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

The hotel owner said in the past, most of the Yanjing people had engaged in processing and selling salt, carrying salty water or driving a train of horses loaded with goods traveling through dangerous places.

Now thanks to the preferential policies of the Central Government, many of them have switched to other business lines. He also gave his family's brine pans to others to handle for him.

Pointing to a large area of arch-roofed sheds outside his house, Blobzang Dhondup said they were all offered by the Central Government for free.

As a descendant of a family that has been engaged in salt production, he cherishes deep feelings for his brine pans.

Pointing at a plant named "chaercuo" in the Naxi language, he said every year the villagers would pick plenty of them and bind them into bunches and put them into the salt wells as they could help change the color of the water and disinfect.

In the past it was a tough job to dry salt. Women had to get up when it was still dark and carried salty water to the brine pans. Men then transported salt elsewhere with horses in exchange of money and grain.

Blobzang Dhondup did that before so he knew well how hard it was.

Now the Yanjing people no longer lead a hard life like that. They do not have to carry salty water by themselves as that can be done by pumps. They also no longer need to transport salt with horses anymore because now there are vehicles coming to the village to collect salt.


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