A pinch of salt and serenity

Nestled away in the mountains northwest of Dali city, Yunnan province is the ancient village of Nuo Deng 诺邓. The reason that ‘ancient’ village is particularly appropriate to describe Nuo Deng is not only that it was established over a thousand years ago, but because it is a little out of the way and hard to get to, and has preserved a traditional way of life.

Nuo Deng is home to Bai ethnic minority people 白, and in the past was an important stopover on the salt route. Today, that is no longer the main way that the villagers make a living, as they instead till the fields in the steep slopes of the mountains nearby. But they also still produce salt to preserve their own food and sometimes even for decoration.

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