Yunnan Art

Yunnan art mainly introduces the traditional art in Yunnan, the famous artists in Yunnan, the best places to enjoy the art in Yunnan. As a multi-ethnic place, Yunnan has diverse and colorful art. 

Except for the diversified minorities, deeply rooted culture and charming natural landscapes, Yunnan also owns rich and colorful traditional arts in many aspects, such as dancing, handicraft and drama. All of them are precious treasures not only for Yunnan local people but also for China. It shows Yunnan people’s wisdom and their yearning for aesthetic beauty.

Traditional Art in Yunnan

Benefited from the widespread minorities, the traditional dance art in Yunnan area is just like a hundred flowers in bloom. Generally speaking, each minority has its own dance form like peacock dance of Dai, overlord whip dance of Bai, flow-inspired dance of Yi and throwing hair dance of Wa. Among various kinds of folk dance, peacock dance and overlord whip dance are famous.

Important Shows in Yunnan

Performances in Dali

Visitors left all the tedious work on their journey, devote themselves to a beautiful scenery, a beautiful encounter. What’s more, enjoy a show of singing and dancing, which will leave on deep impression on their travel. 

  • Orsay Space(奥赛空间)
    Add: No. 111 Lvyu Road, Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province(云南省大理白族自治州大理市绿玉路111号)
    Tel: /
  • Dali’s Eye Dreamy Grand Theater(大理之眼梦幻大剧场)
    Add: North Section, Hongwu Road, Dali Ancient Town, Yunnan Province(云南省大理古城洪武路北段)
    Tel: /
  • Xiyi of Dali(希夷之大理)
    Add: No. 188 Hongwu Road, Dali Ancient Town, Dali City, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province(云南省大理白族自治州大理市大理古城洪武路188号)
    Tel: 0872-2672999

Performances in Lijiang

Visitors left all the tedious work on their journey, devote themselves to a beautiful scenery, a beautiful encounter. What’s more, enjoy a show of singing and dancing, which will leave on deep impression on their travel. 

  • Lishui Jinshan Performance(丽水金沙)
    Introduction: In fact, one of the biggest features of Yunnan is that there are 52 ethnic groups! A song and dance performance can let you know the customs and culture of many ethnic groups in Yunnan!
    Add: The Opposite of  Hongtaiyang Square, Ethnic Culture Communication Center, Gucheng District, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province(云南省丽江市古城区民族文化交流中心红太阳广场对面)
    Tel: 0888-5111020
  • Impression Lijiang Show
    Add: In the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Scenic Spot, Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province(云南省丽江市玉龙纳西族自治县玉龙雪山国家风景名胜区内)
  • Naxi Ancient Music
    Add: No. 86 Mishi Alley, Xinhua Street, Gucheng District, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province(云南省丽江市古城区新华街密士巷86号)
    Tel: 0888-5127971
  • Echoes of Shangri-La
    Add: Yunling Theater, No. 183 Minzhu Road, Lijiang Ancient Town
  • The Romantic Show of Lijiang
    Introduction: With the unimaginable high technology and stage forms, the Romantic Show of Lijiang presents the pious respect and praise for life in the Genesis of Nakhi People, the romantic minds of the girls in Kingdoms of Females near the Lugu Lake, the prosperity and harmony of Mufu, the breathtaking legend of the Mabang, the pathetic last song for life in the Third Kingdom of Yulong.
    Add: No. 88 Yuxing Road, Yulong County, Lijiang, China

Performance in Shangri-La

“Meet Shangri-la” won the guinness world record as the world’s highest indoor musical drama, which is a must experience for Shangri-la tour. Meeting Shangri-la, a large-scale Tibetan song and dance show, is another stage masterpiece created and directed by Yang Liping, a famous dance artist, after the Dynamic Yunnan. The whole performance leads us to pass through the secret Tibetan territory with a grand narrative style and starts a heart-shaking pilgrimage tour. 

Yunnan Traditional Art by Minority


Poems and Legends

Poetry, stories and legends occupy an extremely important position in Dai literature and art. Dai poetry consists of ancient ballads, love songs and narrative poems. Ancient ballads can be broadly divided into labor songs, production songs, and ritual songs, blessing song, custom songs, children songs and other types. There are 550 Dai narrative poems, including creation epic, myth epic, heroic epic and tragic narrative poem, with the “Lang’e and Sangluo” narrative poem as one of the representatives. Most of the Dai folk stories are oral and a few are hand-written. The types of stories include historical legends, romantic legends, life stories, character stories, animal and plant stories, fairy tale fables, etc.

Wall Painting

Dai people have created a painting art with distinctive national characteristics. Their paintings mainly include wall paintings, illustrations of long poems and decorative patterns. The paintings are mainly painted on the walls of Buddhist temples. They are mostly Buddhist scriptures and Buddha-born stories including “Worship of Six Elephants(六象朝拜)”, “Birth Under Bodhi Tree(菩提树下诞生)” and “Nirvana(涅般)”. In addition, there are a few wall paintings with narrative poems as the theme and pictures reflecting Dai people’s life, production, hunting, bathing and war activities.

Songs and Dances

The traditional dances of the Dai ethnic minority mainly include Peacock Dance, Deer Dance, White Elephant Dance, Elephant-foot Drum dance, martial arts dance, etc. The Peacock Dance, Deer Dance and White Elephant Dances are performed according to the motions and movements of peacock, Goldeer and white elephant. The performers wear the special costume to simulate the movements of peacock, Goldeer and elephant.

Pattra-Leaf Scripture and Dai Literature

There are two categories of Dai literature: Buddhist scriptures and Dai literature. The Dai Pattra-leaf Literature can be broadly divided into three parts: recording, sorting and classifying as well as recomposing the ancient oral literary works of the Dai people. It also includes introducing literary works from various ethnic countries that believe in Theravada Buddhism and works created by Dai intellectuals trained by Buddhist temples.

Dai Clothes

Men wear collarless double-breasted or large-breasted small sleeve short with unlined upper garment, long trousers. In cold weather, they usually put on a felt, white cloth or blue cloth on head called “Baotou”. The custom of tattooing is very common among men. It not only shows courage, but also can exorcise evil spirits, protect oneself and decorate the body. Dai women in Xishuangbanna wear white or scarlet underwear with small waist, wide hem and various kinds of skirt.


Overlord Whip Dance of Bai

Overlord whip dance is the most representative dance genre in Bai folk dance, which is widely existed in many folk activities. It was permeated with the historical changes of Bai, religious activities and ethnic customs.


The Bai music-Dongjing Ancient Music(洞经古乐) was originally a kind of Taoist music. In the Ming Dynasty, it was introduced from the inland to the southwest. Later, in the long history of evolution, this Taoist music was gradually accepted by the southwestern ethnic minorities, and gradually integrated into the national music, and finally formed Dongjing Ancient Music with ethnic characteristics. Weishan Dongjing Music and Dali Dongjing Music are two branches of Dongjing Music. The former one is integrated into the classical and solemnity of Nanzhao music; the later one is integrated into the beauty and pleasantness of Bai folk music.

Bai Tune(白族调)

The Bai tune is a kind of tune sung by Bai nationality people in song and dance. They sing in the Bai dialect, which has a kind of strong life atmosphere.

Chanting Tune(诵经调)

The chanting tune is the tune of the Bai people who are doing the Benzhu worship. The main instruments are wooden fish, etc. The tune is solemn and harmonious. 


The Benziqu is actually a kind of Bai tune, divided into solo and chorus. When solo, in addition to the first paragraph, the second paragraph is often repeated indefinitely, only adjusting the rhythm and emotions slightly. When chorus, eight sentences per person are repeated.

“Chuichui Qiang” Drama(吹吹腔)

The bench play, the common name of “Chuichui Qiang” Drama, is one of the ancient dramas of the Bai people. The “Chuichui Qiang” Drama in south of Dali is called the Southern School, and the north is called the Northern School. Both schools have their own characteristics. The “Chuichui Qiang” Drama pays attention to the rhythm, with diverse style, vivid performance, and strong local color.


Tie-dyeing is a traditional handicraft of the Bai minority and has a long history. Because the cotton cloth is bundled, different patterns will be created. Therefore, the tie-dyeing method is diverse, and the products are very rich, such as tablecloths, curtains, clothing, ethnic bags, hats, etc.

More about Tie-dyeing Skills of Bai Ethnic Minority in Dali

Jianchuan Wooden Carving(剑川木雕)

The Jianchuan wood carving workmanship is fine with diverse shapes, vivid and beautiful images, hard and flexible texture. It is the essence of all kinds of wood carvings in Ming and Qing Dynasties.


Read More

Achang Aini Axi Ake Azhe Bai Bailuo Bulang Buyi Dai
Deang Dulong Han Hani Hualuo Huayaodai Hui Jingpo Jinuo Kucong
Lahu Limi Lisu Manchu Miao Mongolian Mosuo Naxi Nu Pumi
Sani Shui Taliu Tibetan Wa Yao Yi Yiche Zhuang Huayaoyi

Yunnan Culture by Region

Yunnan Intangible Cultural Heritages by Region

Famous Artists in Yunnan

Yang Liping(杨丽萍)

Yang Liping (born 10 November 1958) is a Chinese dancer and choreographer of Bai Minority. She is known across China for her creativity and her performance of the Dai peacock dance. Yang has been dubbed as the “Peacock Princess of China”. In May 2009, she revealed a dance and music production ‘Sound of Yunnan Show‘, at the Yunnan Art Institute’s Experimental Theater. On November 17, 2009, US President Barack Obama is visit to China, she performed the classic dance “The Spirit of the Birds” at the Great Hall of the People.

Hao Ping – born 1952

Hao Ping was born in Yunnan in China. In 1980 he graduated from the Department of Fine Art of Yunnan Art College. He is one of the figure heads of the Yunnan Art School.

Hao Ping had several exhibitions outside China – in Japan, USA, France and Germany. His works are in the possession of museums in the USA and in Japan. Hao Ping’s prints are made in woodcut technique with thick, bright oil colors.

Lu Runeng – born 1940

Lu Runeng was born in Kunming in Yunnan province. In 1995 he graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Academy. Presently he works as a painter of the Qujing Art Institute. The print on display, titled “Spinning” won the Golden Prize of the 10th National Chinese Print Exhibition in 1990.

Ma Li – born 1958

Ma Li was born in Yunnan Province, China. Since 1986 he has exhibited widely in China, Japan and also in the UK. The artist works primarily in the woodcut reduction print technique. His work is very colorful and depicts the life of the rural minority communities in Yunnan. Ma Li teaches at the Puer University and has held workshops in woodblock reduction technique in Bristol, UK.

Shi Yi – born 1939

Shi Yi is professor at Yunnan Art College. His media is the woodcut. The printing technique used by him, is wet water printing, a specific, Chinese method that produces a watercolor-like image.

Yunnan Inheritors of Intangible Cultural Heritage by Region

Best Places to Enjoy Yunnan Art

Top Galleries in Yunnan

Yunnan Provincial Art Gallery(云南画院(云南美术))

Add: 3F, No.371 Qingnian Road, Kunming(昆明市青年路371号三楼)
Tel: 0871-3110513
Opening hours: 9:00 17:00

Yunnan University Art Gallery(云南大学画馆)

Add: 2F, Yunnan University Science Building, Kunming(昆明市云大科学楼二楼)

Tian Jun Dian Alley(天君殿巷)

Add: Behind the Yunnan Normal University Primary School, Kunming(昆明市师大附小后门)
Tel: 0871-6646160

Museums in Yunnan

Museums in Kunming

Kunming has museums with various themes, including Pu’er tea culture, railway, zoology, ethnic minorities, geology and history, etc. If you want to have a general understanding of Kunming and even Yunnan, you might as well go to the museum.

Museums in Dali

Every place has its own history, and museums are the records of historical changes. The wind, flower, snow and moon of Dali make people very easy to forget the glory of Dali. If you are interested in the history of Dali, the museums will be a good choice for you. 

Museums in Lijiang

Museums in Chuxiong

Yunnan Traditional Ethnic Villages by Region