Houses of Bai People in Xizhou
The center of Xizhou Town is the Square Street. There are four big families living in the Town: Yan, Dong, Yang and Zhao. The houses of every family have their own features.
Outside the Xizhou Town there are two overgrowing elms. The habitants here call them Trees with Geomantic Omen. The two elms already have a very long history. It is said that one elm is "yin" while the other is "yang". One grows new branches and leaves when the other shed leaves. This goes around year after year and the two elms get prosperous in turn. One produces fruits while the other never. There is also an old green tree in the village not very far to the northeast of the Town. Every time when the autumn comes, numerous snow-white bitterns rest in the tree, and this makes a unique view in Xizhou Town.
The Square Street is the center of Xizhou Town. It is a small square surrounded by shops. There in the square stands a stone torii. It is the Civilization Torii which has been built recently. The former torii which stood here was called Success Torii. It had been built after several intellectuals in the town had achieved success in the Ming Dynasty. At that time, all the villagers who had achieved success in the national examinations were privileged to engrave their names on the torii. Now Xizhou Town is the location of the government of an administrative region. In the history, however, it had had the scale of a city. Long before Nanzhao Kingdom moved here and settled down by the Erhai Lake, it had been a place where the foremen of Bai people "Heman" gathered and lived. At that time it was called Dali City and had many inhabitants. It is said that one general of Wen Emperor of Sui Dynasty, Shi Wansui, settled his military forces here, so the city was called Shi City, and the nearby plain was called Shi Yan. At the time of Mou of Nanzhao Kingdom, the King built his royal palace here. The present name of the city may give you some clues about the pattern of the city. Some villages around Xizhou Town have been named North City, East City, and South City. Some archaeologists have once found in the town things of Nanzhao Kingdom such as tiles engraved with characters, thick tiles with cloth veins, and tiles with lotus flower veins.
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