The Xizhou Museum of Tujia Folk Customs is a local museum of ethnic customs located in the Mengtong River scenic area, about one kilometer south of Yongshun County, Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in west Hunan Province. It is composed of a cluster of ancestral halls and residential courtyards.
The museum covers an area of 5,000 square meters, a construction area of more than 1,600 square meters and exhibition area of more than 250 square meters. The museum was built in 1985 and was officially opened to the public on September 23, 1987 -- the 30th anniversary of the founding of Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. The museum houses more than 700 museum pieces.
Through the museum gate is a spacious courtyard where the Tujia people perform a sacred dance. There is an octagonal stage in the courtyard with a dragon-and-phoenix flag in five colors. This is an indispensable part of the Tujia sacred activities.
The folk-custom and historical exhibition hall in post and panel structure is the principal construction of the museum. The simple and unsophisticated style demonstrates the typical features of Tujia ancestral buildings. The exhibitions are mainly categorized into two parts: folk custom and history. Hundreds of historical and ethnic cultural relics recount the history of the Tujia Nationality from the Paleolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The exhibition's counters and cabinets are also designed in the typical and ancient Tujia style. Dressed in typical, Tujia-style costumes, the guides offer explanations of the exhibition items and also perform some folk customs that vividly reveal Tujia ancient customs.
Inside the Tujia Diaojiaolou (Wood Columns Supporting Building) are the exhibition halls of Tujia residences and craftworks. One can also enjoy Tujia dishes here and a nap on the special Tujia wooden beds with flower carvings. There is also an exquisite brocade weaving performance presented by Tujia girls and local souvenirs and craftworks for tourists are also readily available.