Set in the heart of Lijiang’s Old Town, the Mu Palace was the home of the Mu clan who led the Naxi people and ruled Lijiang for over 700 years. The buildings and grounds are influenced by an attractive mix of Naxi, Tibetan and Han architecture and design.
The Mu Palace is a key attraction in Lijiang and a pleasant change to the shops, bars and restaurants on Lijiang’s Old Town.
Mu Clan – The Mu Clan is one of China’s oldest families and the history of the Mu can be traced back to before the Tang Dynasty. The head of the Mu clan surrendered to Kublai Khan when he conquered Dali in 1253 and was granted control of Lijiang. Later in 1382 the head of the Mu clan submitted to the authority of the Ming Dynasty. For the last 700 years, the Mu clan have been ruling Lijaing for 22 generations and weathering the changes in emperors and dynasties by maintain good relationships with China’s successive central governments.
The continued strength of the Mu clan and their position of authority in Lijiang helped protect and maintain the Naxi culture.
Mu Mansion – The Mu Mansion was the seat of power and the home of the Mu Clan was built in 1382 and was compared to the imperial palace at that time. The mansion was destroyed during the Qing Dynasty wars and was later rebuilt from 1996 to 1999. The rebuilt mansion was based on the original mansion but only have the size.
The Mu Mansion is built against the Shizi Mountain on an east west axis with the complex facing east. The mansion is divided into two areas, the administrative area and the residential area.
The first part of the mansion is a large courtyard that ends at the Yishi Hall which was the administration center and used by the Naxi head men for meetings with the head of the Mu clan and discussing business. The second part is the Wanjuan building is used to house thousands of scrolls, paintings and sutras. The last administrative building is the Hufa building which was used for making sacrifices.
The residential area is in the northern part of the mansion and separated from the administrative area by a series of ponds and streams that are charming and captivating. The buildings in the residential area are based on a series of courtyards and share similarities to the residential areas in the Forbidden City.
The Mu Palace is in the south west part of Lijiang’s Old Town and very easy to find. From the main square in the Old Town head south on Qiyi street and follow the signs.
Tickets & Hours
The price of a ticket to the Mu Mansion is 60rmb which is a little expensive considering the price of a ticket to the Forbidden City is also 60rmb. The ticket is still good value and the Mu Mansion is well worth seeing.
The Mu Mansion is open from 8:30am to 5:30pm and I suggest you try to go there in the morning when it will be less crowded and have very few tour groups.
8:30 to 5:30