Xinping is the main place of the Yi nationality in southern Yunnan, and it is also one of the important places for reserving ancient books of Yi nationality. According to the statistics, more than 1500 ancient books of Yi character are dispersed in the folk in Xinping County, which mainly can be divided into the Bimo sacrifice ancient books, the public ancient books and other ancient books in term of the content and purpose.
There are 139,000 Yi people in Xinping County, forming 50.36% of the total population of the county, of which are more than 200 Bimo. Yi nationality are distributedwithin 12 towns (sub-districts)in the whole county. Xinping Yi nationality consists of Niesu, Nasu, Chesu, Shansu, Lalu, Menghua, Luowu, Lawu and other branches, and Xinping Yi nationality do not have obvious religious beliefs. In Ming and Qing dynasties, few Yi people believe in religion, such as Taoism or Buddhism. Xinping’s Yi nationality has a long history and unique culture, it is not only reflected from their own language, but also showed from the aged, ancient and well-developed ancient characters. As an important minority character, Yi characters has been using. According to the survey, many schools have been set up and a large number of Bimo have been cultivated in Lukui Mountain where the Yi people live in compact communityin the history. Besides, the Qing government has issued notices in both Chinese and Yi characters.
At present, more than 1500 ancient books of Yi character are dispersed in the folk in Xinping county, which mainly can be divided into the Bimo sacrifice ancient books, the public ancient books and other ancient books in term of the content and purpose.Bimo sacrifice ancient books are the most common, the largest number, and the most complex system and abundant content, which are still widely used in the folk and can be subdivided into many small categories, such as sacrifice, evocation, funeral, wedding, prayer and so on. The public ancient books can be divided into the creation, the legendary anecdotes, the divine stories, ethics and morals, fairy tales, love songs, translation books, dictionary types. These ancient books have high historical and cultural values. In addition, there are some other kinds of ancient books, such as livestock, medicine, agriculture, architecture, craft, art, geography, folklore, letters, bulletins, books, and other ethnic groups’ ancient books of Yi characters relating to the Yi people. These ancient books have high reference value and practical value.
The carrier of ancient Yi books can be divided into stone books, cliffs paintings, wooden books and paper books, of which the paper is the main form, because of the largest number, and followed by stone books: there are five categories of paper books, including soil paper, leather paper, cotton paper, papyrus, and Chinese art paper.Stone books mean the Yi materials engraved on the stone. This ancient books mainly consist of tombstones, bridges and road monuments. Tombstones show largest number, while bridges and road monuments are of higher values. Yi characters and ancient Yi books are collected by few intellectuals and Bimo in the folk. These books refer to Yi nationality’s ancient literature, economy, military, art, history, philosophy, religion, medicine, astronomy, geography, calendar, ethics and other humanities science and natural science, and also record many Yi civilization achievements and cultural phenomena, which are ethnic culture crystallization handed down from generation to generation. These excellent Yi culture has been dispersed in the villages of Yi Nationality, disseminating good family tradition, family precept and family education, narrating the classic stories of the Yi nationality and setting up a model for the national unity and progress.