Among all the scenic spots in the Stone Forest, the rock of Ashima in the Small Stone Forest is the most famous. The rock of Ashima resembles a girl of the Sani people, a branch of the Yi ethnic group, with a kerchief on her head, and a bamboo basket on her back.
According to popular legend, a beautiful maiden named Ashima was kidnapped by the son of an evil landlord and forced to marry him. Her name means "as precious and bright as gold" in language of the Yi people. Her love, Ahei, went to save her with his magic bows and arrows.
Ahei and the kidnapper competed by singing for 3 days and 3 nights; Ahei finally won by outlasting his opponent. On the way home, however, Ashima was drowned in a flood and became what is known today as the Ashima rock. Standing there in her traditional costume, looking into the distance, she is seen as a protector of the Sani people.
Ashima is a symbol of the hope for freedom to choose who to marry, and a happy life for the Sani people. This story was first written down in the 1940s and performed in Kunming. It has been published several times, and was filmed in the 1960s. The national dance drama "Ashima" is on the list of the top Chinese dances in the 20th century. Since then "Ashima" has been translated into eight languages including English, German, French, and Russian and has shed its beauty throughout the international community.
The Ashima rock
Film Ashima made in 1963
A half-length figure of Ashima