The Naxi people are the descendants of the ancient Qiang tribe, who inhabited the Huanghe and Huangshui valleys in northwest China. After constant nomadic migration, the early Naxis finally settled down in eastern and western areas along the upper reaches of the Jinsha river. Today approximately 300,000 Naxis live at the juncture of Yunnan province, Sichuan province and Tibet autonomous region.
Despite the extremely difficult environmental conditions and the lack of material wealth, the Naxi still managed to create a unique and distinctive ethnic culture.
As a consequence of this culture being handed down through religion and of the priests of this religion being called "Dongbas", this ancient culture acquired the name of "Dongba Culture" and this religion was called "Dongba religion". Thus, all the pictographic characters, scriptures, ritual dancing and artworks and utensils related to this culture are prefixed by the word "Dongba". Read more about this element on the UNESCO Memory of the World website.