The Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Monday, September 29, 2014

Miao embroidery from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China


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.

The Outside of the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China

The Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming

Inside the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China

Women of the ethnic minorities of Yunnan
A short introduction to the colorful ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province

A Bai woman's traditional outfit from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in KunmingAn Yi Minority outfit from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

an ethnic minority woman's traditional outfit and jewelry from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, Chinaan ethnic minority traditional outfit from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming

Several of the gorgeous outfits that are worn in Yunnan Province - You can still see people wearing them today!

Embroidered belts, sashes, and aprons from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum
Embroidered belts, sashes, and aprons - I love the embroidery in Yunnan!

woven bags from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

A model of a bamboo house in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China

Traditional Lacquer wear from the Yi ethnic minority in Yunnan Province, China
Lacquered cups with chicken feet from the Yi ethnic minority

decorative Wa Dang from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming
Wa Dang - decorative edges on roofs

The mask exhibit at the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China
The Mask Exhibit

A Tibetan Buddhist Mask from the Yunnan Nationalities Museum
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.

8 comments:

  1. I'm so surprised by how modern it looks - really lovely display there!

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised too! I think the museum was really well done.

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  2. I love how colorful the outfits are! They look gorgeous.

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    1. I do too. I took so many photos - and I love seeing when people are just wearing these outfits around their villages. So incredible.

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  3. Very unique works of art. I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. I guess that counts for something right?

    I just recently explored a local art museum near me. It's a wonderful way to step out of your 'box' every once and a while. :o)

    V
    Life+1

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I'll check out the museum :)

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  4. This is really amazing. I love museums and having one for Nationality/Ethnic Minorities is really awesome and educational. Love it. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I love museums too and this was great! What is your favorite museum?

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