|Aba Autonomous Prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang Minority |
Situated in the east rim of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the northwest part of Sichuan Province, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (hereafter referred to as Aba Prefecture) is close to the Chengdu Plain, and located in a step-transition position rising from Sichuan Basin to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau between east longitude 100º30'～104º27’ and north latitude 30º35'～34º19'. Just because the location interlocked between the northwest part of Sichuan Basin and the east rim of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the landform of Aba Prefecture shapes in two types, namely Altiplano Section in the middle and northwest part and Alp-Gorge Section in the southeast part. In the Altiplano Section, the round and shallow mound and the expanse of valley form the typical landform of mounded plain. While the Alp-Gorge Section mainly includes three mounts: the west sect of Longmen Mount stretching in the southeast part, the middle and south sect of Min Mount decumbent in the northeast part, and Qionglai Mount standing in the middle and south part. The deep gorge densely covered by sunders together with the markedly glacier landform with many natural relics, forests and springs shapes transcendent mountainous sight views here.
The complicated landform makes the climate here complicatedly and variously. In the prairie of Aba Prefecture, showers, hailstones, and gales are frequently seen in summer, and many place here even don't have summer, however, the sunlight is abundant enough here all the years. However, in the mountainous area, the wind in the valley is rather heavy all the year round, and once up to the afternoon, the wind begins to blow. And the temperature is quite changeable, as sometimes the difference in temperature can get more than 20℃ in one day. It is so common to wear shirt in noon, while cover thick bed quilt in night, and it isn’t strange at all to experience the weather of four seasons in one day. So, for traveling, you had better prepare clothes ready for four seasons whatever the season you are coming.
Aba Prefecture exercises jurisdiction over 13 counties including Wen County, Li County, Mao County, Jinchuan County, Xiaojin County, Ma’erkong County, Aba County, Ruo'ergy County, Hongyuan County, Rangtang County, Songpan County, Jiuzhaigou County, and Heishui County, and Ma'erkong County is the prefecture capital. It covers an area of 84,242 km2 with a population of 0.85 million
Several nationalities live in Aba Prefecture, such as Tibetans, Qiang, Hui and Han, among which Tibetan, Qiangs and Hans account for the largest proportions. Aba Prefecture is the main inhabitancy area for Qiang People in China. And each of Tibetan and Qiang People has their own language and culture.
As to be the key pass way among nationalities in history, Aba Prefecture is destined to form a various religion structure. The five sects of Tibet Buddhism have their own temples in Aba Prefecture, including few temples of Juelang Sect, which are rare in Tibet. Besides, the original religion－Ben Jiao is very popular in Jiarong Tibetans. Here, except a part of Tibetans believe in the religion of Yanggelu (also called Huang Jiao) in the glass-pasturing area and Jiarong area, here has the most ancient original religion in Tibet- Benbo Jiao. A lot of temples and believers of Benbo Jiao can be seen in the well-known scenic spots both at home and abroad, such as Jiuzhai Valley, Huanglong Temple in Songpan, and Ruo'ergai Prairie, etc. Up to now, the believers still keep the old traditional custom to hold unique religion assembly frequently. Temples, Palace, stupa, and Buddhist flag are spread all over the place, like stars in the sky. Except the temples of Ben Jiao and Tibetan Buddhism, there are also mosques established by Islamite who come here for drifting about destitute in the end years of Tang Dynasty. Taoism has been introduced to Aba Prefecture in Ming Dynasty with only five Taoist temples existed in the southeast part of Aba Prefecture. Catholicism has been introduced to Aba Prefecture by British men in the 4th year of Emperor Guangxu in Qing Dynasty, and churches had been built in Wenchuan County, Mao County, Zagunao County, Jinchuan County and Xiaojin County, most of which are ruined to disappear for different reasons. Only the church in Xiaojin County has existed up to now as the Key Cultural Relics under Provincial-level Protection, for it is the relic site that the first force of the Red Army joined force with the forth force.
Aba Prefecture is also the largest Qiang settlement in China, where a lot of customs of Qiang has been kept. In history, Qiang people had worshipped the God that formed in sheep body and human face, and so far, Qiang people still believe in primitive things. Day by day, the things enshrined and worshipped are expanded to different kinds, from heaven to ground, from mountains to animals, even trees. There are totally dozens kinds of gods, such as the god in house, the god on doors, and the gods in kitchens. In addition, Qiang people also worship the white stone and regard it as one of their god.