TV drama showcasing China’s rich cultural heritage (photos)

A still from the TV drama Meet Yourself. [Photo/Official Weibo account of the TV drama Meet Yourself]

With a relaxing pace and idyllic scenery, the newly airing TV drama Meet Yourself is winning over viewers’ hearts, with many saying it’s quite “soul-healing” in this era full of anxiety and competition.

Taking place in a small village in Dali Bai autonomous prefecture of Southwest China’s Yunnan province, the hit TV series not only boosts the local tourism, but also presents the charm of some intangible cultural heritage items in Dali. Let’s take a look at a few.

A still from the TV drama Meet Yourself shows a wood carving master. [Photo/Official Weibo account of the TV drama Meet Yourself]

Wood carving

Jianchuan wood carving, originating from Jianchuan county of Dali in Yunnan, has a history of more than 1,000 years. As a technique of wood carving, it has rich ethnic culture connotations and fuses bold and delicate styles together, creating unique charm.

The carvings usually use patterns involving flowers, plants, landscapes and auspicious symbols such as dragons and phoenixes. This type of wood carving is widely used in their architecture and furniture as well as arts and crafts for decoration. Each piece of wood carving carries enormous efforts from the masters.

Jianchuan county was named as the hometown of wood carving art in 1996, and Jianchuan wood carving was listed in the third batch of national-level intangible cultural heritage in 2011.

Episodes in the TV show also reveal that the cultural inheritance of the traditional craft of wood carving faces challenges. The show discusses how machines are taking place of handwork, as they are more efficient and less costly; and also looks at how young people are chasing for more job opportunities and money in big cities and are not willing to stay in the small village.

Stills from the TV drama Meet Yourself show tie-dyeing products. [Photo/Official Weibo account of TV drama Meet Yourself and Dali Culture and Tourism Bureau]


Tie-dyeing is a traditional staining technique among the folks. The tie-dyeing technique of the Bai ethnic group had grown mature as early as in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, and was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

The process to tie-dye mainly includes making the template, printing, embroidering, destarching, dyeing, unpacking and rinsing. The dyestuff is derived from the pure plant of isatis root, and the final color will be blue and white, the representative color of Bai tie-dyeing, appearing primitive and elegant.

Now the tie-dyeing has fused modern aesthetic elements, producing more products such as clothing, bags and tissue boxes, selling at home and abroad.

A still from the TV drama Meet Yourself shows embroidery on Bai ethnic costumes. [Photo/Official Weibo account of the TV drama Meet Yourself]

Embroidery of Bai ethnic group

The embroidery is quite popular among the women inhabiting in the Bai ethnic group community, and is widely used in daily necessities such as clothes, headwear, shoes, hats and pillow cases.

It usually uses patterns involving flowers, plants and animals with auspicious meanings, such as the camellia, azalea, orchid, fish, bird, bat, butterfly, as well as dragon and phoenix.

Before the stitch work, one needs to paint the pattern or use paper-cutting as the foundation, and then embroiders with different colored threads. Each piece of embroidery is an exquisite artwork, which has high ornamental values.

The embroidery technique of Bai ethnic group, with mature techniques and abundant colors, was listed as a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage in 2009.

Flower cake is highlighted in the TV drama Meet Yourself. [Photo/Official Weibo account of Dali Culture and Tourism Bureau and screens shots from the TV drama Meet Yourself]

Flower cake

There are not only crafts shown in the TV drama, but also some local food featuring intangible cultural heritage items wetting the audiences’ appetite.

Flower cake is no doubt the most symbolic specialty of Yunnan province. It is a kind of traditional cake with a history of more than 300 years. Even the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor Qianlong was a big fan of the cake.

The warm climate in Yunnan province provides superior conditions for growing flowers, so the most special part of the cake is the flower stuffing.

A handful of rose petals are wrapped in the round cake with a golden surface, which tastes crisp, and after taking one bite, the fragrance of rose pervades, leaving endless aftertastes.

Dairy Fan is highlighted in the TV drama Meet Yourself. [Photo/Official Weibo account of TV drama Meet Yourself and Dali Culture and Tourism Bureau]

Dairy Fan

Dairy Fan, or rushan, is a kind of popular snack made of milk and yogurt, shaped like a fan, and mainly produced in Dali of Yunnan province. It appears milky white or milky yellow, and can be eaten raw, dry, fried or toasted, or cooked with other ingredients such as Yunnan ham.

As a local specialty, it’s a must-try food for tourists visiting Yunnan. The making technique of Dairy Fan has been listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage item in 2022.

The photos demonstrate the three tea courses of Bai ethnic group. [Photo/Official Weibo account of Dali Culture and Tourism Bureau]

Three tea courses of Bai ethnic group

The three tea courses are a special way of tea serving etiquette of the Bai ethnic group in Yunnan province. Originating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it has been an important tradition during special occasions such as weddings, funerals and festivals.

First boil water and warm the teapot on a gentle fire. After the pot gets hot, put the tea leaves inside and rotate the pot to make the tea leaves warm evenly. When the tea leaves become yellow, pour the boiling water into the pot. The first course of tea usually smells fragrant while tastes bitter. The second course will include sugar and the Dairy Fan, which makes it sweet. Finally, the third course will include ginger, cinnamon and honey, creating a rich aftertaste. The three courses imply the life philosophy of first bitter, second sweet and finally colorful.

The tea practice was listed within the national intangible cultural heritages in 2014 and was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity along with other traditional tea processing techniques and their associated social practices in China in 2022.