Nanning History and Culture

Naning has a history over two thousand years and a profound culture. The name of Nanning has the meaning that peace are in areas close to the south border.

In 214 BC, Guangxi region was conquered by the Qin army, and was included into the territory of the Qin Dynasty. The central government of the Qin Dynasty set three prefectures like Guilin prefecture, and Nanning was in the jurisdiction of Guilin prefecture. Since then, Nanning was under the government of the central government. In 206 BC, Zhaotuo established a country in Guangxi region, called Nanyue, and Nanning was a part of this country. In 111 BC, Nanyue was conquered by the army of the Western Han Dynasty, and this region was merged into the territory of the Western Han Dynasty. And its central government set up nine prefectures in this region, and Nanning was in the jurisdiction of Yulin prefecture. In the Three Kingdoms Period(220 AD-280 AD),  Guangxi region was in the government of Wu Kingdom, which altered its administrative division, and thus Nanning was in the jurisdiction of Linpu county. In the Eastern Jin Dynasty(317 AD-420 AD), Jinxing prefecture was set up from  Yulin prefecture, and Nanning was in the jurisdiction of Jinxing county of Jinxing prefecture. In the Sui Dynasty(518AD-618AD), Jinxing county was changed to Xuanhua county, and Nanning was the jurisdiction of Xuanhua county.

In 632 AD of the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD), the name of Nanjin county was changed to Yongzhou county, and its government was set up in Nanning. This is the origin of the abbreviated name of Nanning. In 862, Guangxi region was in the jurisdiction of west dao of Lingnan, and its government is established in Yongzhou county. Since then, Nanning was the place where the government of province level was established. In the Song Dynasty, Yongzhou was in the jurisdiction of the West Lu of Guangnan. Yongzhou also set up its government in Nanning. In 1279, Yongzhou was changed to Yongzhou lu, and its government was set up in Nanning. In 1324, Yongzhou lu was changed to Nanning lu, which is the origin of the name of Nanning. In 1376, Nanning lu was changed to Nanning fu, and it was in the jurisdiction of Guangxi Buzhengshi whose government was set up in Nanning. In the Qing Dynasty(1644 AD-1912 AD), Guangxi Buzhengshi si was changed to Guangxi province, whose capital is in Guilin. Nanning fu was in the jurisdiction of Zuojiang dao. In 1949, Nanning was liberated, and it became the capital of Guangxi province in 1950.

In the ancient, there is a country called Luoyue, which created a glorious culture, Luoyue culture. Its center and capital is in Wuming, Nanning. With the development of over two thousand years, Nanning has inherited and promoted this culture. Luoyue culture consists of many branches, like rice culture, cotton textile culture, longmu culture and copper drummer culture. In order to learning and spreading Luoyue culture, government makes great efforts, and invites professors to have lectures about the history and culture of Luoyue country, and encourages people to learn the Zhuang written language.

Rice culture is based on rice cultivation. Rice crop is the main grain crop in the whole Guangxi, and the staple of Guangxi people are rice and food made from rice, like rice noodles(mifen). Shengzha mifen is a kind of rice noodles of Nanning local flavor. There is no additive in its making procedure, and it has a flavor of sour, due to one of the procedures-fermentation of rice milk. The traditional shengzha mifen comes from Pumiao town in Nanning, which is famous for its soft and smoothness. In December, 22, 2017, there was a festival about shengzha mifen in Nanning, which lasted for 11 days. During the festival, government formulated a document to regulate the making procedure of shengzha mifen, with an aim to promote traditional rice culture.

One of the famous cultures in Nanning is singing, Gexu which has a literal meaning about singing congregation or singing party. Gexu culture is a part of Luoyue culture, and most Gexus come from the sacrifice culture of the ancient Luoyue country. The Zhuang people love to sing and they have regular singing congregations. Shan'ge is the most common singing form, which has one or more than one singer. In case with two or more than two singers, the singing goes on in a form of questioning and answering. There are two famous Gexus, Damingshan Gexu, and Sanyuesan Gexu. Damingshan Gexu has been held for more than ten years, and it has singing and dance performance. Sanyuesan festival is the most important festival to the Zhuang people. In this festival, Gexu is a necessity and there are grand singing parties. Those Gexu activities are a cultural feast to the local people.


Longmu culture originates from Damingshan area. Longmu is female leader of Baiyue people( Baiyue refers to Guangxi) in the Warring States period( 475 BC-221BC), and she is a goddess to the Zhuang people and people living in the Pearl River basin. People love and respect Longmu, and build temples to worship her. There is a tale about Longmu: a poor widow living Shimen village comes to a pond called Shinanhai to fetch water, and a small snake insists to swim into her wooden bucket for several times. Then she brings it home and put it in a water tank. The snake likes to be around her, and once a time she cut down its tail by accident. After that, she calls it Tejue and raises it like her child. When it grows up, it catches fish to for its mother. The widow dies in the third day of the third lunar month, and it buries her in a cave.  Every year of that deathday, it would come to the cave to see its mother. The Sanyuesan festival is related with this tale.


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