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15 July 2015

Home>Tourism>Golden Travel Routes

Shaoyang-Huaihua Route to Dong Culture

Huangsang National Nature Reserve 

 

Suining County is hailed as an unpolluted oasis by UNESCO, for its beautiful eco-environment and splendid natural scenery. Covering an area of 381,300 mu (about 25,547 hectares), Huangsang National Nature Reserve integrates natural landscape with cultural richness, covering five scenic spots, ten karst caves, three waterfalls, myriad picturesque peaks, rocks as well as ancient trees. In recent years, lots of outdoor enthusiasts have been attracted by its favorable eco-environment, to explore and visit its scenic vicinity. Full Story 

 

Nanshan Scenic Area in Chengbu County, Shaoyang 

 

Nanshan scenic area in the southern part of Chengbu County occupies an area of 152 square kilometers in which the immense mountain is covered with grass. This area is called the Hulunbuir Grassland in the South. At present more than five scenic spots on Nanshan Mountain are open to visitors. The scenic area is a nature pasture, a sanatorium and a summer resort. Full Story 

 

Yutou Dong Minority Village in Huaihua

The Dong ethnic minority live in the region delimited by southwest Hunan, southeast Guizhou and north Guangxi. This part of the country often called the “Corridor of Dong culture”. The countryside near Tongdao -which coincidentally means “passageway” or “thoroughfare”–is home to dozens of Dong ethnic villages. The region of Tongdao, virtually unknown to Western and Chinese tourists is the right place for a natural scenic drive through the Hunanese countryside which is dotted with ancient Dong drum towers and centuries-old Wind and Rain bridges. Full Story

 

Hundred Li Dong Cultural Corridor in Huaihua

The corridor is located in the south of Tongdao County and extends more than 50km along the Pingtan River basin, and expands over five Dong townships and towns of Shuangjiang, Huangtu, Pingtan, Longcheng and Pingyang, with a total area of 347.6 square kilometers, and a population of 58,700. In the corridor, there are more than 30 natural Dong villages having 30 households or above. Among them, the village of Yutou of Shuangjiang Town, the villages of Hengling Pingtan, Yanglan, Gaobushan in Pingtang Township, and Zhongbu Village and Lutang Village in Longcheng Town are key Dong villages which has been jointly reported and applied for world cultural heritage by Tongdao County, Liping County of Guizhou and Sanjiang County of Guangxi. The place enjoys a long-standing history of Dong culture and has simple folk customs. It is known as the sea of songs, the paradise of dances and the hometown of wines. Walking into the cultural corridor is just like opening a beautiful picture scroll of Chinese Dong culture and customs which combines human and nature in harmony. With beautiful scenery everywhere, and scattered surprises, you will be moved and filled with affection with each step.

 

Characteristics of Dong Architecture 

Tongdao Dong building is made in Luoyue railing style. It also adopts Chu-style architectural features. It is exquisite in craftsmanship, delicate in structure, beautiful in shape, with distinctive features. It does not use a single nail or rivet. Among them, the drum tower, village gate and wind and rain bridges are the most outstanding. It can be called “three treasures” of Dong architecture. There are totally 7 units and 15 points of cultural heritage under national protection, and 7 units of heritages under provincial protection. It is one of the counties in Dong living areas with the most and best preserved folk architectural culture.

 

Drum Tower is a unique symbol of Dong village, and a symbol of the Dong culture. It is a place for mass gathering, discussions, rest and recreation. The architectural technology of drum tower is classically associated with the Dong architectural culture. It can be said to “possess both the grace of a pavilion and majesty of a pagoda”. In the precinct of Tongdao County, generally there is one drum tower for one village, and also one drum tower for the families with the surname or a clan. Among them, five drum towers are cultural relics under state protection.

 

Wind and Rain Bridge is also called Blessing Bridge, Flower Bridge or Wind and Water Bridge. In Dong villages of Tongdao, you will not find a single village without a Blessing Bridge. It is not only a transportation facility of people, but also a spirit to intercept the wind and water and protect the villages. In the Hundred Li Dong Cultural Corridor along the Pingtan River basin, the wind and rain bridge, small or big, can be seen everywhere. Among them nine wind and rain bridges are listed as key cultural relics units under state protection.

 

Dong's Apparel

The apparel culture of Dong nationality in Tongdao is a quaint and colorful flower of arts and crafts. It is a result of creation and accumulation of thousands of years of the Dong people. It has been developed form scratch and crude to a gorgeous and elegant attire. Clothes are all brocade, and adorning is all silver. The Dong’s apparels are praised as “an epic wearing on the body”. Those with the most sophisticated craftsmanship, the finest pattern, and the most gorgeous color are national costumes for men and women, lusheng costumes, Dong brocade, Dong handkerchief, and silver decorations. Walking in the Dong village, you will not be refrained from changing into the national costumes and pretending to be a Dong person yourself.

 

Dong brocade has a long history. In the Dong Ancestors Song, there is a line “use fish bone as a shuttle to weave colorful brocade, use bone needle to sew clothes”. Dong brocade is a wonderful art in the many folk crafts of Dong. Tongdao Dong brocade weaving techniques have been included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage indexes, and Dong woman Su Tianmei from the Yatunbao Town has been listed as an inheritor at the same time.

 

Dong Diet

Helong Banguet (file photo)

 

There is a wide variety of Dong’s food and the culture derived from the cuisine is rich and unique. Its preparation method is mainly stewing and mostly incorporates sour taste. There is a saying “there is no banquet without spirits, no feast without glutinous rice, no meal without sour food”. Helong banquet is a classical Dong diet and the highest form of respect among Dong family in entertaining their guests. When there are guests in important festivals, the Dong family offers their best dishes in a Helong banquet in the level ground before the ancient drum tower. During the banquet they sing songs and drink to liven things up.