Nuodeng Village, Yunnan
The idyllic Bai village Nuodeng is perched on a steep mountain slope in a valley about 8km northwest of Yunlong town in the Yunnan province. Nuodeng is especially known for its delicious "Huo Tui", an air-dried, salted ham. The first time the village of Nuodeng was mentioned in the 9th century during the Tang Dynasty. However, the time of its foundation is probably some centuries before that. This makes Nuodeng one of the oldest Bai villages in the Yunnan province. Nuodeng is mainly inhabited by the ethnic minority of the Bai, one of the 26 ethnic minorities of the Yunnan province.
The surroundings of Yunlong were once a center of salt production. Especially the village of Nuodeng has made a name for itself with its excellent salt quality. The salt of Nuodeng was extracted from a 23 meters deep salt well.
In China, salt was considered an energy source and the value of salt was valued higher than gold. Nuodeng experienced its heyday especially during the Ming Dynasty. At that time the salt was transported from Nuodeng via the so-called Xinshishan salt route with horses to Tibet and Myanmar. The Xinshishan Salt Route was once part of the Tea and Horse Route, an extensive network of paths for transporting goods from Yunnan to Tibet.
The production, trade and transportation of this salt brought Nuodeng considerable prosperity. Walking through the cobbled streets and stairs, the former prosperity of Nuodeng can still be felt and seen.
The best way to get a feeling of the former wealth is during a visit to the "Jade Kaiser Pavilion", which is located at some distance above the village. The "Jade Emperor Pavilion" is a Taoist temple from the time of Emperor Jiajing, who ruled China from 1521 to 1567. The highlight is the wonderful, well-preserved 28 wooden ceiling-panels with paintings, some of which have been preserved in their original condition.