Dali Bai Prefecture Museum
Towards the northeast of Xiaguan, Dali, and on the road leading to Erhai Park, there is the Dali Bai Prefecture Museum. The lovely building holds the culture and memories of the Bai ethnicity which are laid out across the gardens and the covered area in a very appealing manner. Besides tourists, it also caters to minority study scholars, historians and archaeologists, who come here form far and wide.
You can either chose buses going to the Lihoushan Cun stop or the Xingsheng Daqiao Nan stop as both these are close to the museum. There is no admission charge for entering and even language translators are provided but they will demand a deposit and ID to be given. This can be collected back on exit. Operating hours are from 09:00 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 17:00. Further admissions are closed at 16:30. The whole activity takes no more than 2 hours but is considered time well spent. It is open all year round but the best time to visit Dali is March-June because the whole town comes alive with many festivals during that period.
As you enter the compound, the building itself will amaze you before the attractions do. It is an architectural masterpiece of the Dali Bai minority taken from the blueprint of their traditional houses. The yellow tiles, the symmetric layout and the high roofs are an insight into the style of the Bai. The museum houses important relics from as far back as the Neolithic period and tourists have expressed interest in the history of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdom, like the information about the Panthay revolt.
Within the 8 fixed exhibiting halls, there are displays of artwork, pottery, bronzeware, stone carvings and religious artifacts. The Nanzhao Kingdom History focuses on the timeline of the area from paleolithic till the modern ages.
Bronzeware Culture Exhibition tells a fascinating tale of how the region became more civilized and refined adopting higher skills in making of bronzeware. About 2,000 articles displayed clearly show the progression.
Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition and Pottery Art Exhibition also have similar theme as bronzeware and have books and porcelain as the subjects.
The Dali Historical Figures Exhibition has politicians and the stories of their lives throughout the ages and how their decisions affected the area of Dali.
Bai Culture Exhibition is about the identity of the Bai people and how it became to be so distinct, their rituals and customs and how these have evolved over the time period.
Bai Primitive Religion Culture Exhibition refers to the difference in religious beliefs and faith of people of the different villages and the Gods that they worship. Legends and folklore are mentioned here as well.
Nanzhao Kingdom Buddhist Art & Stone Carvings Exhibition tells of the dominant religion in the area and about the major finds relating to Buddhism.
High-quality marble is an abundant resource in Dali and has been mined for centuries. It is only natural that the Marble Culture Exhibition has been given separate mention.
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