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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ancient Tea and Horse Road – Hello Li Jiang 2

Hello, we are back from the Chinese New Year break. Let’s continue the topic of our Li Jiang trip in January. Other than its natural beauty, Li Jiang’s important geographic location on the ancient tea and horse road also makes it especially attractive to me.

The ancient tea and horse road was the commercial linkage between Tibetan and Han in ancient China. Many scholars believe that the road started in Tang Dynasty. The road began at XiShuangBanNa and SiMao, the tea grown regions in Yunnan, and winded northwest through DaLi, LiJiang, ZhongDian, then entered Tibet and arrived at Lhasa. MaBang (Horse Group) people carried Pu-erh tea on the back of horses and conducted tea trade with Tibetan through this road.

Si Fang Street (Square Street) is a must see place in Li Jiang Old Town. We were told that tea trade was conducted there during the ancient tea and horse era. It does not take long for you to notice that there are lots of tea shops in Li Jiang Old Town. However, if you talk to local people they will tell you that there are two things that you should not buy in Li Jiang. One is tea and the other one is silver jewelry. The reason? None of them is produced in Li Jiang. Li Jiang is no longer a trading place on ancient tea and horse road. It has become a tourist attraction in 21st century!

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