Sunyata’s rare lyrical library in the Snow Mountain

“Snow Mountain Songlets” is a collection of poems by Hua Ma who lived in Meili. The poems were inspired by Deqin folk songs and written in the form of a short, section-less poem. Ma, an avant-garde poet who graduated from Fudan University, slipped out of the public eye and became a volunteer teacher at Mingyong Village in Meili from 2003. We named Sunyata Hotel Meili’s library after his book to commemorate the poet who devoted his life to the Meili Snow Mountain. While collaborating with local ethnology, ecology, and sociology scholars and grassroot researchers, the Sunyata library collected more than 500 books about Hengduan Mountains’ (which includes Snow Mountain) natural history, sociology, literature, and art. Many of the collections are out-of-print publications. The hotel’s location—set in place shrouded in myth and mysterious and far away from being connected to the world—gives guests a chance to regress to reading, to find clues about Meili’s past and present through the literature.

All of these books are a fascinating starting point for a better understanding of the Meili region. There is the “Snow Mountain Book” by Dr. G. Jing, a sociology and ethnology scholar; “Kawagebo Historic Site” by Silang Lunbu, the President of the Kawagebo Culture Society; “Church of the Holy Land Kawagebo” dictated by the Snow Mountain protector and former hunter, grandfather Xiong; and Hua Ma’s “Snow Mountain Songlets”. At the same time, the library’s video database has a large number of pieces produced by the Kawagebo Society, which provides precious material for understanding the local culture and natural features.

In the book “Yunnan Vegetation” written by Professor Wu Zhenyu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, he discusses the three parallel rivers area, which contains a large number of alpine and subalpine plants, and is known as the ‘mother of the world garden’. Since the mid-19th century, the richness of the plant species here has attracted botanists from the UK, Austria, France, and the United States to collect specimens and seeds. With the arrival of these botanists, the cultural diversity of the Meili region has also increased. Meili has gestated more than 200 species of rhododendron seeds—which are equivalent to 23% of the world’s and 43% of the Chinese rhododendron species¬—as well as more than 100 species of primroses, fleur-de-lis, nasturtium, anemone, snow lotus, and fumaria. In spring, the rhododendrons dye the mountains and meadows in rich colors, followed by the herbal flowers: primula sikkimensis, the red primula, and the blue iris bulleyana. In September, the Baima Snow Mountain is covered in golden tones with redwoods and willows. Sunyata reflects the diversity of the local natural ecological system by inviting artists to draw a number of plants illustrations throughout the hotel. Well-known photographer Peng Jiansheng describes the region as such: “Besides the grand viewing of the sunlight over the snow mountain, there are many subtle living creatures that construct the magnificent viewing of the four seasons of Meili Snow Mountain.”

The following is an excerpt from Sunyata Hotel Meili’s journal.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019