I cannot speak highly enough about the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming. It is honestly the most well-done museum I've visited in a long time (and I visit A LOT of museums). Many of the exhibits are described in English, Mandarin, and Japanese. Communist Party language is generally avoided (YES!) and it is clear that most of the information was provided by anthropologists.
The Nationalities Museum specializes in teaching, researching, and protecting ethnic minority cultures. They have a collection of over 40,000 artifacts, which are displayed in several permanent exhibits. Clearly, my favorite exhibit was on ethnic minority clothing - I have about 100 photographs of the different outfits. If you happen to have the chance to visit outside of Kunming (e.g., in Lijiang or Shangri-La) you will have the opportunity to see people (typically women) wearing their traditional dress. That is one of my favorite things about Yunnan - that these clothes and cultures are not yet a thing of the past.
The Yunnan Nationalities Museum also has an excellent gift shop. I picked up a spoon painted using Yi lacquer-wear techniques. I used to study the wood used to make these handicrafts so was giddy with the chance to finally be able to purchase one. Yes, I get giddy over purchasing spoons...
Getting There: The Yunnan Nationalities Museum is located near Dian Lake (Dian Shi) and the Ethnic Minorities Village, which a bit far from the city center. Take the A1 bus to the final stop (1 or 2 RMB depending on how new the bus is). Walk directly across the street and through the parking lot on the right. The large Yunnan Nationalities Museum will be in front of you. (Lucky for me that my academic work and personal interests overlap!)
More Information: The Yunnan Nationalities Museum offers free admission and the exhibits are in English, Mandarin, and Japanese. The Yunnan Nationalities Museum is closed on Mondays and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
|A short introduction to the colorful ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province|
Several of the gorgeous outfits that are worn in Yunnan Province - You can still see people wearing them today!
|Embroidered belts, sashes, and aprons - I love the embroidery in Yunnan!|
|Lacquered cups with chicken feet from the Yi ethnic minority|
|Wa Dang - decorative edges on roofs|
|The Mask Exhibit|
|A creepy Tibetan Buddhist mask|
Do you like anthropological exhibitions on traditional dress?
Stay tuned for a bonus post tomorrow! I'm linking up with Treasure Tromp for Treat Yo Self Thursday.