The Markam Salt Pans (c) 2017

By the Lancang river at the southeastern Tibet, there are one of the oldest and most primal salt pans in the world- the Markam salt pans. The salt pans of Markam use to be the one of the most important sources of table salt to provide the Tibetan area, and it is a remarkable site of tradings on the tea-horse road. The salt pan villages lives Tibetan and Naxi people, and even till today there are still families that work entirely as salt farmers, who trade their salt for other life articles such as crop, meat, and tea.

The history of these salt pans date back before the Tibetan empire’s establishment, and the Kham and some southern areas in Yunnan were called Dokham by the Tibetans, and Markam was one of the six posts of Dokham. Markam produces salt of the six posts which caused war between King Gesar and the Naxi king Qiangba.

In the Markam salt pans remains the only pure-manual salt producing method and tradition in Tibet and China, which produces red and white salt by sun-dry salt water taken from brine wells by the Lancang river. The salt pans have recently been categorized into the list of national culture heritage of China.


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