It refers to ancient Naxi culture, which is given the name for it has been passed down by " dongbas " . Dongba Culture originated from the Primary Naxi Religion, and believes in the super natural gods and their rule over the world. It is polytheism and incorporates Lamaism, Buddism and Daoism.Dongba shaman, which means " wise man " ,is a witch doctor, scholar, craftsman as well as an artist. Dongbas are disseminators of the Dongba Culture.
The Dongba scriptures are a series of more than 20,000 books written in Naxi picto - graphs with more than 2000 hieroglyphs. It is reputed as the encyclopedia of the ancient times of the Naxi Nationality. The " Dongba Scroll Painting " and the " Art of Dongba Painting " are invaluable treasures in the ethnic gallery.
Culture is the soul of Lijiang ancient town. Dongba culture is an integral part of Naxi culture, referred to as the ancient culture of the ethnic Naxi. It is called so because it is mostly found in the Dongba religion, which is believed to be one thousand years old. It chiefly consists of scriptures, paintings, music, dances, ritual implements and religious sevices.
Dongba script, a kind of pictograph, possessing more than 1400 characters, is believed to be the only well preserved living pictorgraphic langrage in the world. It is a precious cultural heritage of mankind. About 40000 volumes of Dongba scriptures have been found today, all written in Dongba pictographic characters. These scriptures are kept in the libraries or museums in Lijiang, Kunming, Nanjing, Beijing, Taiwan, the United States, Britain, Germany and France respectively. The Dongba scriptures have covered a wide range of knowledge. They are precious references for the study of the ancient philosophy, religion, folklore, history, art and literature of the Naxi nationality.
The Dongba dance chart, recorded in Dongba pictographs, is among the earliest of its kind in the world. Dongba paintings are chiefly of three kinds: wood board painting, paper board painting and scroll painting. Among them, the scroll painting is best known with its representative work "The Sacred Journey".