Local Products of Dali
Dali marble, quarried mainly in Cangshan Mountain, has an age-old mining history. Dali marble, beautiful in patterns and colours, refined in texture and multiform in variety, has a strong anti-corrosive nature. Among the multiform varieties, there are “yunhui” (grey clouds), “caihua” (coloured flowers), “shuimohua” (wash painting), “cangbaiyu” (white jade), etc. The reserves of “yunhui” are the richest. “Shuimohua” is the most famous and valuable. It is good for making high-grade building material and handicrafts. A poem depicts the special features of Dali marble thus: “Marble flower patterns are blazing with colours, exquisite, glistening, magnificent.
It is marvellous and picturesque that no painting in this world can compete with. Such great riot of colour and patterns are resembling the life of man and the beauty of nature.”
The market of tourist souvenirs made of Dali marble with natural patterns has a very bright future.
SCHIZOPYGE TALIENSIS (popularly known as “bow fish”):
It is a fresh water fish in Erhai Lake, mostly at the Xishan (Western Hills) source of Erhai Lake. Schizopyge Taliensis favours swimming in clear water and striving against swift current. It can spring up like a bow when it holds its tail in its mouth and then releases.
With a fat and round back, the fish has white scales, opulent meat, fewer bones, very small gall bladder, fine texture and high protein, soit is nutritious. Therefore, it has been reputed as “the best of all fish” by the local people. An adult fish weighs 200 to 300 grams.
Snow Pear, planted and cultivated in Haidong District, on the eastern shore of Erhai Lake, is one of the finest pear species. It is round as a ball, green in peel and white in pulp. A big one can weigh one fourth of a kilogram. With rich sugar content, apple-acid, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B and C, the pear is juicy and sweet, and has the quality of promoting the production of body fluid and quenching a thirst. It moistens the throat and relieves a cough.
Tuocha (white tea or a bowl-shaped compressed mass of tea leaves) is the traditional local tea and s&ely produced by the Xiaguan Tea Plant. The material is the first-harvest leaves of the year. Through the process of screening, rubbing, compressing and drying, the lump of tea leaves is made to look like an upside-down cake, called Tuocha, black in colour. The tea water is clear, aromatic and sweet. To drink Tuocha persistently will have the result of reducing fat and hypertension. So now it has become a best seller both at home and abroad.
DALI STRAW HATS:
Straw hats are made of wheat straw in plait patterns, by going through bleaching treatment, sewing together into hats and then fitting out with pink coloured ribbons. The Dali straw hats have more than ~7o patterns and designs. The best ones are those which require the finest wheat straw with best weaving techniques. Straw hats are the favourites of young boys and girls of the Bai nationality while they are having outings and visiting friends or relatives. And it is said that straw hats are used as gifts among young people while they are courting or getting married. Like marble articles, straw hats are another kind of the most important handicrafts of Dali. In recent years, more patterns have been designed and more hats produced. It is not only favoured by the minority people at home, but also welcomed by people abroad. It has good markets in America, Australia, the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong.
It is also a traditional product of the Bais in Zhoucheng Village. The process of making this kind of cloth is like this: First, the villagers fold and tie white cloth by hand in the patterns of the Eight Diagrams (Bagua), butterflies, the Three Pagodas with their reflections and plum flowers, etc. and then dye the pieces of cloth for more than 10 times in indigo-blue water (both imported indigo-blue and local made indigo-blue are used), and finally, hang them up in the open air to dry and untie the nods and spread them out. Now, you’ll see the patterns of white and blue prints on the cloth. The characteristic of the tie-dyed cloth is simple in style but the colour sustains. It is an excellent material for making tourist products such as clothes, window and door curtains, table cloth, wall hangings, souvenir bags and handkerchieves, which are applauded warmly in both domestic and foreign markets.