Bibliography: Reading Lists

The most comprehensive Yunnan bibliography on the web: books, articles, maps and online resources.
Looking for an introduction into Yunnan? Interested in minorities, history or fauna and flora? Here YunnanExplorer presents you with some curated reading lists.

Missionaries

Are you a missionary in need of some pat on the shoulder when not even the rice-Christians are showing up for service? Here comes our selection of uplifting stories from Yunnan missionaries. Just remember: the one's who never made a convert, never made it back or never made it full stop never wrote books.

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Joseph Rock

Of all the westerner who made it to Yunnan, Joseph Francis Rock was undoubtedly one of the most eccentric. A self-educated botanist and anthropologist, a recluse, a photographic pioneer, a lousy geographer and even worse writer: National Geographic's 'our man in China' left us with a string of (heavily staff-edited) NG articles and a few (almost unreadable) books. Here is our list.

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National Geographic

If your library is full of old National Geographic Magazines, then maybe try to hunt down these old articles published about Yunnan.

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Bai Language

Resources for learning the Bai Language.

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Buddhism in Yunnan

Starting from the Nanzhao Empire, Buddhism has played a significant role in Yunnan, developing its unique style.

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Benzhu Religion

The worship of Benzhu, local protector spirits, is a characteristic of the Bai people.

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Regional Studies: Dali Jianchuan

Publications regarding Jianchuan county in Dali.

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Folk Mythology

Publications collecting folk mythology.

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Regional Studies: Dali around Erhai

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Marco Polo

Marco Polo claims to have been to Yunnan during his time in China. Here we list a few books that discuss his travels.

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Chuichuiqiang 吹吹腔

Chuichuiqiang is a traditional form of Bai opera.

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Miao Minority

The Miao Minority in Yunnan.

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Yunnan Integration

How Yunnan became part of China.

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Yunlong Bridges

Yunlong is known as a 'Museum of Bridges'.

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Qing Dynasty Literature

Books written during the Qing dynasty about Yunnan.

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Yunnan Han Dynasty History

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Tang Dynasty

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Ethnobotany

Arguably, man-kind has survived much longer with gathering and swidden agriculture than it will using modern intensive industrialized farming. The books in this list go to the roots of indigenous knowledge in plant-use and hill farming. Plus one of the books tells you the mystery why hill-farmers need to understand prime numbers.

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History

If you are a history buff, maybe these books are for you, but probably you have read them already.

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Architecture

While modern Chinese architecture is nothing to write home about, Yunnan traditional architecture is actually quite interesting, making the best of local resources and climate for some quite comfortable buildings.

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Salt

Salt was one of the transformative products in Yunnan: tax revenues not only made up a large part of provincial income, but the also forced farmers into the cash economy.

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Prehistory

For most of Yunnan's history few records exist. This reading list covers archeological approaches to exploring the world of early human habitation.

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Dali History

The history of Dali is particularly interesting.

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Regional Studies: Dali Yunlong

Publications regarding Yunlong county in Dali.

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Bai Folk Plays

A collection of historic and contemporary Bai folk plays 白剧.

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Xu Xiake 徐霞客

Books about the famous Ming traveller Xu Xiake.

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Zomia

James Scott’s book "The Art of Not Being Governed" laid out his thesis of state evasion and state prevention in upland areas of SE Asia and caused a great controversy.

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Old Bridges

In mountainous Yunnan, historic bridges are numerous.

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Yi Minority

About the Yi Minority in Yunnan.

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Papermaking

Resources about paper making in Yunnan.

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南诏野史

The {% ye_cite nanzhaoyeshi %} is one of the most important documents for the history of Nanzhao, but since many different editions exist, this document is in itself an object of study. 

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Ming Dynasty Literature

Books written during the Ming dynasty.

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The Manshu, Book of the Barbarians

Important Tang dynasty geographical and historical record of SW China.

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Nanzhao Dehua Stele

Material relating to the Nanzhao Dehua Stele 南诏德化碑.

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Classic Travel Reads

Easy-reading travel novels, some true, some less so. Our list of Yunnan holiday reading.

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Early Maps

When Matteo Ricci, the Italian Jesuit, arrived in China in 1583, the Chinese had never seen a map of the world. When the Jesuits were expelled in 1723, they left not the many converts they had hoped for – but the first scientific atlas ever produced of China, with maps so authoritative that western explorers still relied on them more than one hundred years later.

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Caravans

Horse caravans were once the main transport in Yunnan, not only providing a regional transport system, but also carrying culture and power.

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Yunnan Bronze

The Yunnan bronze age with the Dian Kingdom at its center remains a historic mystery.

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Erhai

Erhai is Yunnan's second largest lake. This reading list covers its geology and ecology.

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Yunnan Picture Books

Photographic records of Yunnan.

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Archeology

Publications regarding archeology with reference to China and Yunnan.

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Chinese Religion

Publications about Chinese religion in general.

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Tibetan Calendar

Resources about the Tibetan Calendar.

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Bai Folk Stories

Collections of Bai Folk Stories

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Dian Kingdom

The Dian Kingdom ruled over central Yunnan 2000 years ago before vanishing.

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Intangible Cultural Heritage

Books listing Yunnan's Intangible Cultural Inheritance.

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Wocun 萂村

Wocun is a Bai village on the eastern side of Erhai with a deep culture dating back to Nanzhao.

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中华书局

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Nanzhao History

History of Nanzhao

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诸葛亮

Papers about the famous Zhuge Liang.

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