重游滇西北(二) / Northwest Yunnan Revisited (Part Two)

 

纳西文(或东巴文)中的“虎”字 / The word for “tiger” in Naxi (or Dongba) script

重游滇西北(二)

在丽江,我们在自然保护组织的办公室里听到了一番有趣的介绍。自1988年起,自然保护组织在云南西北部成功地进行了多项自然保护工作。该组织在当地设立办公室已有十五年之久,他们在丽江的游客中心也接待过无数来自全球各地的专业团体和普通游客。自然保护组织向他们宣传与中国中央政府和地方机构合作,在全国范围及云南西南部开展的自然保护行动。

这个游客中心所在的丽江古城已被联合国教科文组织列为世界文化遗产。不久前,云南保护区的三江并流也作为亚洲三大江——金沙江、澜沧江和怒江罕见的源头交汇之地而入选世界自然遗产名单。

三江在这里平行奔流300公里,金沙江汇入长江(全长6,300公里或3,915英里),澜沧江流入湄公河(全长4,350公里或2,703英里),怒江涌入萨尔温江(全长2,815公里或1,749英里),三江之间的直线距离不足几英里,但彼此却有高达6,000米的山峦相隔。再往下游走,三条大江分别流向不同方向:长江一路向东,经上海汇入东海;湄公河直奔东南,从越南胡志明市流入南海;萨尔温江南下穿过缅甸、泰国进入印度洋。

该地区可以说是地球上生物物种最为多样的地区,已知哺乳动物多达173种(其中几乎一半为当地所特有),还有鸟类147种。当地生活的少数民族也很多,其中包括云南人口最少的少数民族独龙族。

在自然保护组织的热情协助下,我们有幸到老君山国家公园进行了游览,那里是濒危动物金丝猴的家园。从丽江乘车前往老君山要沿着长江的上游河流——金沙江逆流而上,沿途经过风景秀美的农村,村里生活着包括纳西、傈僳和彝族在内的少数民族。

这些地区的农舍,特别是支撑用的梁椽大都用木料制成。屋顶的两端各有一个木雕造型安置在横梁之上,最常见就是双鱼造型。无论在汉族还是少数民族文化中,双鱼都寓意富贵吉祥。有些时候,在双鱼造型的上方还会有一个木雕的汉字“水”字,希望能藉此带来好运,特别是能保佑木头房子免遭火灾。

Northwest Yunnan Revisited (Part Two)

In Lijiang we received an interesting briefing at the offices of The Nature Conservancy, which has been doing great work on various conservation projects in Northwest Yunnan since 1988. TNC’s office there has been active for the past fifteen years, and their Visitor Center in Lijiang receives numerous specialist groups as well as ordinary tourists from around the world, educating them on TNC initiatives in N.W. Yunnan and elsewhere in China, in partnership with local and central government agencies.

Lijiang’s Old City, where the TNC visitors’ center is located, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Culture site. Not far away, the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Site is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Nature sites due to the unusual confluence of the upper tributaries of three of Asia’s great rivers: the Jinsha, Lancang and Nu.

Over a stretch of roughly 300 kilometers (186 miles), where the Jinsha begins its flow into the Yangzi River (the Yangzi is 6,300 km. or 3,915 miles in length), the Lancang into the Mekong River (which totals 4,350 km. or 2,703 miles in length) and the Nu into the Salween River (totalling 2,815 km. or 1,749 miles long), the three rivers flow roughly parallel to each other, separated by only a few miles as the crow flies, yet with mountain ranges of up to 6,000 meters in height running between them. Further downstream, they divide and flow in different directions — the Yangzi to the east where it empties into the East China Sea at Shanghai; the Mekong to the southeast, to the South China Sea south of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and the Salween south through Burma and Thailand to the Indian Ocean.

The area is the most biologically diverse temperate region on the planet, with 173 known species of mammals (nearly half of which are endemic to this area) and 417 species of birds. It is also home to a variety of minority tribes, including Yunnan’s least populous minority, the Derung Tribe.

With TNC’s kind assistance we took a side trip to the Loujun Mountain Park, which is home to a large population of endangered Golden Haired Monkeys. To drive there from Lijiang involved following the Yangzi River’s upper tributary, the Jinsha River — a pretty drive through farming country with a diverse population of minority people, including Naxi, Lisu, and Yi tribes.

Most rural houses in the area make extensive use of wood in their construction, especially for structural beams and rafters. At both ends of the roof, there is an iconic wooden carved figure attached to the cross-beam. The most frequently used icon here resembles a pair of fish. In both Han Chinese and minority cultures, this signifies abundance and good fortune. In some cases, above the double fish carving is the Chinese character for “water” (水), also carved from wood, which is intended to bring good luck, especially given the risk of fire to any home made largely of wood.

 

当地农舍常见的双鱼造型 / The Double Fish icon, common on rural houses in the area

在和当地长大的年轻人聊天时,我惊讶地发现美国人在当地历史上颇有声望:20世纪初曾有一位美国人在当地生活了很多年,还有一群美国人在二战中往来于云南的上空——当地青年对他们的了解比如今的美国人还要多。

他们提到的这位美国人就是著名的植物学家兼语言学家约瑟夫•洛克(1884-1962)。洛克祖籍奥地利,年轻时移民到了美国夏威夷,在那里学习植物学并取得了美国国籍。他曾长期驻扎在丽江附近的玉湖村,并在1922年至1935年间根据自己对云南和中国西南地区的深入考察,为《国家地理》杂志撰写了多篇文章。晚年的时候,他因深入研究纳西族文化及语言深受当地人的爱戴,并留下了几部相关的鸿篇巨著。

人们认为,正是洛克在《国家地理》杂志上发表的文章,激发了詹姆斯•希尔顿《消失的地平线》一书的创作灵感。1949年新中国成立以后,洛克返回夏威夷并在那里度过了余生。对于未能留在丽江并和热爱的纳西族人呆在一起,洛克深感遗憾。

(在考察途中,洛克对人类的感官享受有着明确的要求,他坚持舒适至上。即使是在帐篷中用餐,他也要求必须使用纯银餐具。每天,他还要用橡胶浴缸美美地洗上一个泡泡浴。)

至于在空中飞来飞去的那帮美国人指的就是“飞虎队”,原来叫作“美国志愿援华第一航空队”。他们组建于1941年美国加入二战前夕,受命于美国总统,协助中国抵抗日军侵袭。在日军炸毁陆路交通之后,“飞虎队”负责缅甸和云南多个机场之间的飞行任务,其成员主要由美国空军飞行员及地勤人员组成。

60架绘有鲨鱼头图案的战斗机为航空队获得了“飞虎队”的美名,后来迪斯尼公司专门为其设计出飞虎标志,并绘制在每架战斗机令人闻风丧胆的鲨鱼头图案旁边。

日军偷袭珍珠港仅12天之后,飞虎队迎来了他们的首次战斗任务。1942年7月,飞虎队改编为美国空军第23飞行队,继续在陈纳德将军的率领下,沿用飞虎队的昵称和标志,一直战斗到1945年战争结束为止。上世纪90年代末,坠毁的飞虎队飞机残骸在云南边远山区被发现,引发当地媒体大量报道,也勾起了当地人对飞虎队的回忆。

(待续)

As I got talking with young people who had grown up in the area, I was struck by the prominence of various American figures in local history: one individual who lived here for many years during the early 20th century, and one group who flew in and out of Yunnan during World War II — both much better known among young people here than in America today.

The individual was the renowned botanist and linguist Joseph Rock (1884 -1962), an Austrian who emigrated to Hawaii as a young man, where he studied botany and became a U.S. citizen. He made his long-term home in Yuhu village near Lijiang, and wrote numerous articles for National Geographic Magazine between 1922 and 1935, based on extensive expeditions in Yunnan and other parts of Southwestern China. In later years he endeared himself to the Naxi people through his in-depth study of their culture and language, about which he wrote several respected tomes.

It is thought that Rock’s National Geographic articles formed the inspiration for James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon”. He left after the Peoples’ Republic of China was established in 1949, returning to Hawaii, where he spent the rest of his years, profoundly regretting not being able to remain in Lijiang, among his beloved Naxi people.

(Rock had a clear sense of priorities when it came to creature comfort during his far-flung expeditions, insisting on a full set of silverware to be arranged for each meal at camp, and a rubber bathtub for his warm daily bath.)

The airborne group of Americans were the renowned Flying Tigers, formally known as the 1st American Volunteer Group (of the Chinese Air Force). They were formed in 1941, just before the U.S. entered WWII, by U.S. presidential order, to assist in defending China against Japanese forces. They flew missions between Burma and various airfields in Yunnan after Japanese bombers knocked out the road link. They were mainly American military pilots and ground support staff.

Their famous shark-faced fighters, which numbered 60, earned the nickname of Flying Tigers, and the Walt Disney Company later developed a flying tiger emblem which was painted on the side of each fighter behind the ferocious-looking shark face.

The Flying Tigers faced their first combat mission only 12 days after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. In July 1942 they were regrouped as the US Army’s 23rd Fighter Group, still under the leadership of General Claire Chennault, retaining the well-known nickname and insignia, and continuing their missions until the war’s end in 1945. As recently as the late 1990s, the wreckage of downed Flying Tiger aircraft has been found in remote mountain locations in Yunnan, generating local press coverage and keeping their memory alive among local people.

(To be continued…)


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