ancient town of dali

Xiaguan's Strong Winds: The Legend of the White Fox & Bai Ethnic Scholar

Any pu erh tea lover will know about pu erh tuocha from the Xiaguan factory. However, Xiaguan city is also known for its year-round strong winds, with gusts reaching levels exceeding 8. In ancient times, when scientific knowledge was limited, the enigmatic and capricious Xiaguan wind fascinated the people, giving rise to numerous enchanting folk tales.

The most beautiful story that explains the strong winds in Xiaguan is about a white fox and a Bai ethnic scholar, which we'll share below. We highly recommend to enjoy this story together with a cup of Tuocha tea.

The legend of the white fox & bai ethnic scholar

On the slopes of Cangshan Mountain, bathed in the slanting rays of the sun, resided a white fox who fell deeply in love with a Bai ethnic scholar from Xiaguan. Transformed into a stunning woman, the white fox approached the scholar in secret, and their love blossomed clandestinely, culminating in marriage.

Alas, their forbidden romance was discovered by Monk Luo Quan from the Luquan Temple, who vehemently opposed their union. Wielding his mystical powers, the monk cast the scholar into the nearby Erhai Lake in the north (see image above), right next to the ancient town of Dali.

erhai lake

Above picture: A picture of Erhai Lake

Determined to rescue her beloved husband, the fox woman sought the aid of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. Guanyin bestowed upon her six bottles of wind and instructed her to use them to dry up Erhai Lake. Carrying the precious bottles of wind, the fox woman returned to Tian Sheng Bridge in Xiaguan, only to fall into an ambush set by Monk Luo Quan.

Tragically, she plummeted to the ground, shattering five of the bottles, causing the strong winds to converge around Tian Sheng Bridge. This is why Xiaguan experiences such powerful gusts. Left with only one bottle of wind, the fox woman retreated to the summit of Cangshan Mountain and directed the wind towards the vast lake. Unfortunately, due to insufficient wind power, she could not fully drain the waters of Erhai Lake, and her husband remained trapped. Hence the wind at Xiaguan is much stonger than in Dali and the Erhai lake.

The scientific explanation

Modern scientific explanations attribute the phenomenon of the Xiaguan wind to the nineteen towering peaks of Cangshan Mountain obstructing air convection from the east and west. The Tian Sheng Bridge Gorge in Xiaguan serves as the sole outlet for air convection, resulting in the particularly fierce winds, especially during winter and spring. Walking along the streets facing the Tian Sheng Bridge Gorge, the gusts cause hats and clothes to flutter, making it challenging to maintain balance.

Below a map of the Erhai lake with Xiaguan, Dali city south of the lake and ancient Dali town in north of Xiaguan, Dali city.

map of erhai lake

Wind proof houses

Interestingly, despite Xiaguan's reputation as the "City of Wind," the gusts do not penetrate the houses. The residents have learned about the wind patterns, which blow from east to west, while most houses are constructed facing north or south, effectively shielding them from the wind's intrusion indoors.

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