Xiahe
A Brief Survey
Xiahe, situated in the southwest of Gansu, is 270 kilo-meters from Lanzhou, The whole county covers an area of 8, 691 square kilometers:the population is about 120, 000. Since the county is located at the eastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and at the end of the Western Qin-ling Mountains, its topography is a mingling of high moun-tains and valleys: the average altitude is 3, 500 meters. With the Daxia, Ga, Ganiia. and Tao Rivers and others flowing through it, the county has adequate water resources. The temperature in Xiahe varies in accordance with the altitude. Generally, where the altitude is above 3, 000 met-ters, the climate is principally frigid and wet;where the alti-tude is below 3, 000 meters, it is cold and humid. The aver-age annual temperature is 2, 6 degrees centigrade, January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of -9 de-grees: July is the warmest with an average temperature of 12.8 degrees.
The climate and land of Xiahe are suitable for animal husbandry. In fact, the area of grassland which could be uti-lizde is 78.4% of the total land area: together with adequate water resources, this makes Xiahe an excellent natural graz-lng area for vast numbers of cattle and sheep. The major crops are highland barley, wheat, broad beans and rapeseed. As the natural environment makes farming difficult, forestry and animal husbandry are the dominant occupations in the area.
Industry is composed of electrical power, leather pro-c essing, daily-use chemicals, cement and wool-washing.

Scenic Spots
Labuleng Monastery
At the western end of town, there is a mountain range which looks like a golden phoenix. It is named Feng (Phoenix) Mountain. Opposite it is Dragon Mountain, just like a sleeping dragon ;Daxia River flows eastwards between these two mountains and has washed the valley into a drag-on-boat shaped basin which the local Tibetans call "Trea-sure Basin". The famous Labuleng Monastery is situated in this basin at the foot of Phoenix Mountain. Labuleng is one of the six great monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism in China . The other five are Ganzhou, Zhebang, Sela, Zhashilunbu in Tibet and Ta' er in qinghai. Labuleng was established in 1709. It is the political, religious and cul-tural center of the

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

Tibetan people in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces.
Labuleng has many palaces, stupas, and other build-ings. It occupies an area of more than 1, 300 mu. The build-ings are tall and magnificent with gilded tiles and red walls, Seen from afar, the golden roofs sparkle under the sun. The Great Scripture Reading Hall is the center of the monastery;
It consists of the front, central, and back palaces. In the front palace, Songzanganhu is worshipped. Between the front and central palaces is a courtyard where the monks discuss scriptures. In the central palace is hung a horizontal board bestowed by the Qing Emperor, Qian Long;"Hui-Jue-Temple" is inscribed on it in Tibetan, Chinese, Man, and Mongolian. In the center of the back palace is a gilded cop-per statue of Mitreya. On the right are eight bodhisattvas and on the left the stupas for all the "living buddhas"of the past. The hall can seat 4, 000. In the hall, the 177 columns are wrapped with exquisite woolen covers. Between the columns hang beautiful embroidered buddha portraits. On both sides of the hall are huge murals. The Great Gold Tile Palace is the highest and oldest building in the monastery. In the palace is a gilded Buddha statue ten meters high. It was the work of a Nepalese arti-san. In this palace is preserved a scripture entitled "Sweet Pearl Sutra"written in liquid gold and silver ;obviously it is regarded as a rare treasure, The palace is covered with gild-ed copper tiles;it is said that each tile is worth 64 sheep. The buildings in the monastery are cemented with the wisdom of Tibetan, Han, and Mongolian peoples. The Great Gold Tile Palace, the Great Scripture Reading Hall;the inge-nious stupas, the bright and colorful embroidered Buddha portraits, pennants, canopies, and the huge copper pot are all cultural treasures and they have attracted countless tourists from home and abroad. In 1982, Labuleng Monastery was designated a national protected cultural monument. Many activities are held every year in Labuleng Monastery. From the 4th to the 17th of the first lunar month there is the " Praying Congregation" in memory of Sakyamunit s victory over the six heretic masters. During this period, there are seven daily meetings in the Scripture Reading Hall; one of these is for praying—thus the term" Praying Congregation". On the eighth day , a ceremony for freeing animals is held during which selected horses, oxen, and sheep are sprayed with clean water and then set free with colored brocade or cloth tied around their ears. These animals will never be killed.
The grandest ceremony is the display of the Portrait of Buddha which is held on the 13th of the first lunar month. The monks hang huge, finely-made Buddha portraits on the side of Dragon Mountain and hundreds of thousands of pious believers assemble to worship the Buddha. It is a solemn and grand scene.
On the 14th, a Dharma ceremony is held in front of Scripture Hall. On the 15th, butter art is displayed. On this day, the monks exhibit their butter works—Buddha figures, human figures, flowers, birds, animals, etc. On the 16th, the monks carry the statue of the Miatreya Buddha and circle around the temple preceeded by honor guards from the Scripture Reading Hall. The ceremony is very exciting. There are many other Buddhist activities, for example, the "Sacrifice"in the second month, the "Preaching Dharma Congregation" in the seventh month, the "Averting Disaster Congregationt" in the ninth month and Zongkaba~ s anniver-sary in the 10th month.

Folk Customs
Xianglang Festival
"Xianglang" is Tibetan for "to collect firewood". It is said that every year, in the height of summer, the monks from Labuleng Monastery used to go out to collect fire-wood. Sometimes, because of the distance, they could not re-turn on the same day or sometimes the amount of firewood gathered was so great that they had to return very slowly so that they had to sleep in the open for several days on the way back. When they had leisure time, the monks often made a sightseeing tour and enjoyed themselves on the grassland. This went on for years and years. Gradually, a habit of "langshan"—"going camping"was established. Now, it has become a megnificent activity of "going camping"at-tended by all the Tibetans living in the Daxia River Valley. Annually, in July, when the Xianglang Festival is around the corner, it is a slack season for the farmers, but the pastures are lush. People, from ex, cry family busily make preparations for the festival—cooking delicious food, packing their tents and kitchenware. When they are ready, they ride their horses to the beautiful grassslands. Upon arrival, they set up their tents and the festival be-gins. Everyone is in rich dress and everyone is happy. Under the tents, hosts entertain their guests with fragrant milk tea, Jixiang Jou (Lucky Wine), and Shouzhua Matton(Mut-ton in Hand). Outside, people enjoy various kinds of activi-ties—horse and yak racing, tug-of-war, wrestling, sining, and dancing—all in the Tibetan way. Recently, with the develop-ment of tourism, several tourist recreational activities have been introduced among the traditional ones. These are loved by both Tibetans and tourists.
Sanke Pasture, 15 kilometers from the county seat, is one of the most popular places for the Xianglang Festival. Gannan Tibetan Opera (Labuleng Tibetan Opera) This opera form has three distinct parts—opening the performance, the performance, and ending the performance, which requires a commentator. Actors wear make-up but do not wear any masks except for those who play gods and spir-its. They also wear special 'costumes and head decorations. Once the opera starts, the orchestra gives an instrumental introduction on flute, dulcimer, dragon-head qin, small cym-bals, drums and some other instruments, as soon as the ac-tors appear, the orchestra stops playing. The whole perfor-. mance depends on the actors~ experience and stagecraft. They vividly express the charactersf inner feelings according to the requirement of the drama by both speaking and singing.
The subject matter of Gannan Tibetan Opera mainly concerns folk legends, historical stories, and stories adapted from the Buddhist scriptures. In recent years, with the ef-forts of countless actors, the opera has absorbed aspects from other types of drama and has become an even richer, more expressive opera. Now, Gannan Tibetan Opera is a form of art which is loved by others as well as Tibetans.

Native Products
Meiren Yak
In Xiahe, there is a saying, "The Meiren Yak stands tall like a wall". This exactly indicates the features of the Meiren Yak. It is an excellent, powerfully muscled, large bodied species of the yak family.
Ganjia Sheep
Ganjia Sheep are an ancient species on the Qinghai-Ti-betan Plateau. They are very strong;the average adult male weighs 47 kilograms. The wool is fine and tough—the best for high quality carpets.
Hezuo Hog
Named after Hezou, a city to the southeast of Xiahe County seat, this species of plateau pig is the smallest in China, Its other major characteristics are thin skin and high proportion of lean meat to total body weight. The meat is fa-mous for its tenderness.