The limestone countryside around Anshun is homeland to China’s 2.5 million Bouyei, whose villages are built of split stone and roofed in large, irregularly laid slate tiles. Bouyei specialities include blue-and-white batik work and ground opera (地戏, dìxì) in which performers wear brightly painted wooden masks; though native to the region and overlaid with animistic rituals, the current forms are said to have been imported along with Han troops in the Ming dynasty, and are based on Chinese tales such as The Three Kingdoms. The Spring Festival period is a good time to see a performance, held in many villages around Anshun, including Shitou Zhai and Tianlong.

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