The homeland of peacocks

In the west of Yunnan Province China, there is a beautiful piece of land, which is named Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.

Make the Culture Last for Eternity—Stories in De’ang Culture Protection in Santa


4) Establishing a De’ang Sour Tea Brand. In the above-mentioned De’ang folk epic The Oldest Legends of Ancestors, the De’ang people were emerged from the tea leaves and the tea was regarded as the root of De’ang ethnic. In hundreds of years, tea served as a perfect option of drinks in social gatherings and a effective herb to prevent or cure illnesses In the many varieties of tea beverages, ,De’ang sour tea wins a time-honored reputation for its complicated processing procedures and unique taste and aroma. De’ang sour tea has the medical function to cure heatstroke and bring a refreshing effect, to diminish inflammation and reduce the impact of alcohol, to soothe the throat and to aid digest. Unfortunately, the making skills of sour tea are hanged upon the verge of extinction. The only person in this village knowing how to make the sour tea is Yang Lasan. As Yang told the reporter, due to the intricate procedures, the entire producing period of sour tea could last for about half a year from leaves picking to final treatment. In addition, the output is quite limited. The sour tea cured by him was so precious that all the product were reserved before the final procedure was finished. The 30 kg sour team he made last year was sold out in a rush to customers from America and South Korea. Mr. Man regards the sour tea as an symbol of De’ang culture which is in demand of preservation and promotion. Right now, the project to bring the sour tea culture back into life has already commenced and progresses are made in collecting historical materials about tea processing skills and registering the sour tea trademark. In the following phase, with the help from De’ang folk museum and De’ang association of tea, Santai Mt. Village will set up a De’ang sour teahouse to market and promote this special tea uniquely belonging to De’ang ethnic minority. Mr. Man also told the reporter that, though the sour tea making tradition is almost lost, some regions in Myanmar inhabited by De’ang ethnic still practices the sour tea making. Santai Mt. Village is planning on organizing a group of De’ang folks to learn the skills from Myanmar fellow craftsmen or .inviting the sour tea maker in Myanmar to offer tea-processing skills instruction in China. The project will be supported by the government.

                                                                                      (sour tea processing)

5) Searching for more Intangible Cultural Heritages. Not long ago, De’ang epic The Oldest Legends of Ancestors was listed in the catalogue of national intangible cultural heritage, while the De’ang Flower-watering Festival and Santai Mountain De’ang Culture Conservation Zone was among the list of Yunnan provincial intangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, items including the De;ang Water-drum Dance, De’ang Weaved Brocade, De’ang Tea Customs. De’ang Language and Letters, De’ang White-charcoal Burning Ceremony, together with De’ang Tradition of Parental Family Visiting are in application procedure for national intangible cultural heritage. Advices for future development of De’an g culture are given by experts from provincial research center of intangible cultural heritage after their field research in Santai Mt. Village.


In order to draw more public attention to the importance of Santai Mountain De’ang culture, the party committee and local government of the village decides to establish some investment project, such as the De’ang folk park, folk culture square, a rilievo wall depicting the scenes from The Oldest Legends of Ancestors and other projects centered around De’ang traditional houses and cuisine



                                                                                       (De'ang traditional residence)

6) Improving the National De’ang Museum. The national De’anng museum construction started in September, 2009 in Santai Mt. Village. It is one of the 7 major programs of ethnic minority culture protection in Yunnan. The museum is made up several parts including the main exhibition hall, the performance room, the handicrafts hall and multi-media display room. The exhibition covers more than 300 items of unearthed antiques, traditional production tools, daily utensils, clothes, folk art works, old books and demonstrations of De’ang festival celebration and religious arts. Those displays manifests the spirit of De’ang culture and plays a profound role in the protection and conservation of De’ang ethnic’s intangible cultural heritage. Yet, due to a lack of capital, the collection is fragmentary. Some representative and precious cultural treasures are absent in the museum. At the moment, Santai Mt. Village views the expanding the museum collection and renovating the exhibition hall as a top priority. After realizing the goal, Sanitai Mt. Village will strive to build a ethnic culture tourism area around the De’ang museum, which is characterized by De’ang folk residences, De’ang foods, sour tea and De’ang folk arts. The tourists agencies and tourism bureau in Dehong prefecture will work in collective effort to boost the development of De’ang culture in the district.

7) Looking for De’ang Characters. In history, De’ang ethnic originally shared a set of characters among themselves, but it was not widely applied and gradually vanished within hundreds of years due to intricate factors. The absence of a unified language poses many barricades in the communication between various sub-branches of De’ang ethnic. Even worse, the difficulties in folk communication hinder the social economic growth in De’ang regions as well as the rejuvenation of traditional culture. Luckily, some De’ang folks living in parts of Ruili and Longchuan still keep the original De’ang character and some are devoted in the research and study of De’ang letters. Man Wenxiang, the sour tea maker, told the reporter that a training course jointly conducted by prefectural study association of De’ang culture and Santai Mt. goverment was held in Dehong Party School, with the intention to widen the usage of De’ang characters. Receiving a positive result from the first class, the training courses will be continued regularly and De’ang character experts and scholars will provide knowledge on De’ang texts in Saitai Mt. Village. With those measures taken, the De’ang characters are expected to flourish once again.