The Sani live in and around Stone Forest, and are a subgroup of the Yi. Their lives are as colorful as their embroidered clothing, and they treasure song and dance above wealth and success. Their legend of Ashima is sung from generation to generation and is an inspiration for Sani women today who refer to it as "the song of our ethics.”
Ashima was a young Sani girl engaged to be married to (her cousin) Ahei. Azhi, the son of the village leader, tried to force her to marry him. Azhi unleashed a trio of tigers to kill Ahei who killed the tigers with arrows and escaped unscathed. But when Ashima and Ahei were playing by a river, Azhi generated a flood and Ashima drowned and turned into river stones. Her words echoed through the forest: "I will never disappear even as the sun and cloud disappear, my soul and my sound will exist till the end of time." Sani people say that Ashima’s suffering is their suffering. My great grandfather Governor and General Lung Yun's 龙云 calligraphy is prominently carved in red above the entrance. He governed Yunnan from 1927-45 and was nicknamed “King of Yunnan”.