The earliest known point of habitation for the Naxi people lies just 10k north of Lijiang Ancient Town. Known as Baisha Village, the town served as the political center of the Naxi community. The village grew largely during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) under the hand of Lijiang’s mayor at the time, Mayor Mu. Mu ordered the construction of thousands of houses and palaces to reinforce the village’s image of economic and political prosperity. Some of the town’s most notable architectural pieces built during this period include the Baisha Crystal Palace, Dabaoji Palace, and Dading Temple.
Over 550 original hand painted murals adorn the walls of Dabaoji Palace. These rare relics were crafted almost entirely during the Ming Dynasty. Realizing the historical significance of these works of art, the Naxi Nation placed the murals within the palace under protection of the state.
The images captured within the hundreds of murals portray Han, Tibetan, and Naxi cultures, discussing the daily life and stories of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. The rich mixture of different artistic and religious schools of thought combined together to create a uniquely distinguishable style of work. Each mural was executed with a great deal of thought and preparation, blending exact shapes, lifelike characters, and carefully arranged line work to create highly expressive images.
Common subject matter within the murals includes vegetation, birds, insects, animals, and landscapes, as well as provides a visual understanding of passion and social interaction during the period they were created.