Mao County, also known as Maowen, is a county under jurisdiction of Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is located in the southeast of Aba Prefecture, and is an important transportation hub, and also the gateway to the world natural heritage sites of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong.
Mao County is China’s largest settlement of Qiang ethnic group. It borders Songpan County to north, Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County to east, An County, Mianzhu, Shifang and Peng County to south, Wenchuan County and Li County to southwest, and Heishui County to northwest.
Mao County is located in the upper reaches of Minjiang River, and the upper reaches of Minjiang River is Hengduan Mountains in southwest China. This area is an important cultural corridor and ethnic corridor connecting Yellow River and Yangtze River. It is called the “Tibetan-Yi Corridor” or “Di Qiang Corridor” in ethnology.
Best time to travel
Throughout a year
Subtropical monsoon climate, plateau monsoon climate
Local specialty agricultural products
Due to perfect altitude and weather, Mao County is regarded as the best place for planting fruits in Sichuan province. In spring, you can taste cherries. In summer, there are apples, peaches, plums, walnuts…, etc.
Maoxian apples are popular in China, peppers and walnuts are excellent. In addition, there are valuable herbal medicines such as Gastrodia elata, Angelica, Fritillaria, Codonopsis, Cordyceps sinensis, Astragalus, Hexiang, Scorpio, Rhuba…, etc., as well as mushrooms, wild vegetables and other foods. Raw lacquer is also a specialty of Mao County. Ethnic rugs, Qiang embroidery and Qiang costumes have long history and good feedback from market.
Most popular sites
Pingtou Qiang Village, at an altitude of 1688 meters with more than 500 households and nearly 2,000 people, 95% of whom are Qiang people. The houses in the village “Yi Shan Ju Zhi” follow traditional architectural style of Qiang people, with gurgling water in village, quiet alleys, and plank roads connecting the front and back of houses. Qiang Village has always retained its ancient and unique traditional culture
Diexi-Songpinggou tourist area is 65 kilometers away from Mao county, 251 kilometers away from Chengdu in south, and 193 kilometers away from Jiuzhaigou in north. It is located on both banks of upper reaches of Minjiang River. It is in transition zone of Longmenshan fold belt and the middle section of north-south structural belt of China’s geology.
The Ancient Qiang City of China is located in Fengyi Town, Mao County. It consists of Chinese Qiang Nationality Museum, Cultural Heritage Center, Qiang Culture Square…etc,. Among them, China Qiang Nationality Museum has nearly 10,000 precious cultural relics, which is a testament to the long history and long-standing culture of Qiang Nationality.
Baishi Qiang Village is located in northwest of Fengyi Town, Mao County, 171 kilometers from Chengdu to south, 200 kilometers from Jiuzhaigou County to north. It is an area where Qiang people live.
Looking at Baishi Qiang Village from a distance, Stone houses are built along the steep slopes, scattered, with extraordinary view
Yingpanshan Site is a cultural site from Neolithic Age to Ming and Qing Dynasties. Because it is the site with the largest area, the largest scale of archaeological work, and the most abundant remains among the local cultural sites found in the upper reaches of Minjiang River so far. Therefore, it is named “Yingpan Mountain Culture”.
Yingpan Site is approximately trapezoidal, with a width of 120-200 meters from east to west, and a length of about 1,000 meters from north to south, covering a total area of nearly 150,000 square meters. It is about 2.5 kilometers away from Maoxian County to east, with an altitude of 1650-1710 meters above sea level, about 160 meters above Minjiang River Valley.
The cultural relics unearthed at the Yingpanshan site include the earliest pottery sculptures found in Sichuan, the earliest relics of artificial cinnabar found in China, and the earliest and largest pottery kiln sites found in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Those are the bridges to clarify the spread of ancient cultures, the formation of ethnic groups, migration, integration, and connections with Chengdu Plain and Sanxingdui culture
Geography and climate
Mao County is located on southeastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, northwest of Sichuan Province and southeast of Aba Prefecture. It is 117 kilometers from east to west and 94 kilometers from north to south, with an area of 4064 square kilometers.
Mao County is in transitional zone from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to Western Sichuan Plain. The terrain is high in northwest and low in southeast. Its east is a middle-high mountain area. The topography is dominated by high mountains and valleys.
The mountain peaks are mostly around 4000 meters above sea level, with a relative height of 1500 to 2500 meters. The highest point is the main peak of Snow Mountain in west at an elevation of 5230 meters, and the lowest point is the valley at lower reaches of Tumen River in east at an elevation of 890 meters.
Mao County has sufficient sunshine, little precipitation, dry and windy climate, four distinct seasons, cold winters, cool summers, large temperature differences between day and night and large regional temperature differences. It belongs to earthquake-prone area on Longmenshan fault zone.
Annual precipitation is 491 mm and average evaporation is 1376 mm. The frost-free period is 216 days, annual average sunshine is 1557 hours
Annual average temperature is 11.0℃, the extreme minimum temperature is -11.6℃, the extreme maximum temperature is 32.2℃,
The temperature difference between the river valley and the mountains is huge. In spring, the snow and ice in the mountains are not melted, however, flowers are already in full bloom in the valley.
Population and ethnicity
As of the end of 2019, Mao County has a total population of 109,390, of which Qiang people accounted for 92.5% of total population; Han people accounted for 4% of total population; Tibetan people accounted for 1.2% of total population; other ethnic groups include Hui, Miao, Zhuang, etc.
The population of Qiang people in Mao County accounts for 30% of total population of Qiang people in China.
How to get to Mao County
The easiest and quickest way is to take vehicle to Mao Xian from Chengdu, which is only 180 kilometers southeast from Li county and the drive takes about 3 hours.
Add: Shuangliu District, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 85205555
Airport code: CTU
Altitude: 495 meter
Chengdu Cha Dian Zi Bus Station
Add: No. 289, Section 5th, West Third ring road;
Jin-Niu district, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 87506610
Altitude: 460 meter
Distance from Mao County to
- Chengdu : 180 kilometers, about 2.5 hours’ drive
- Li County: 95 kilometers, about 2 hours’ drive
- Heishui County: 123 kilometers, about 2.5 hours’ drive
- Kangding City: 450 kilometers, about 6.5 hours’ drive
- Zoige County: 300 kilometers, about 5 hours’ drive
- Barkham: 245 kilometers, about 4.5 hours’ drive
- Huanglong County: 195 kilometers, about 3.5 hours’ drive
- Langmusi: 380 kilometers, about 6.5 hours’ drive
From Yin and Shang Dynasty (1300 BC – 1046 BC) to Warring States Period(475 BC-221 BC), it was developed by the ancient Qiang people of “Shushan Di” in the upper reaches of Minjiang River.
In Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC), Jian Di Dao (County) was established.
In 6th year of Yuanding of Western Han Dynasty (111 BC), Wenshan County was set up
In 4th year of Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou Dynasty (564 AD), Shunzhou was placed under Wenshan county
In 8th year of Zhenguan of Tang Dynasty (634 AD), Nanhui Region was changed to Mao Region, leading Wenshan County.
In Qing Dynasty(AD 1636-AD 1912), Mao Region was changed to Zhili Prefecture.
In the 2ndyear of Republic of China (1913), It was changed to Mao Xian.
In 1958, the three counties of Wenchuan County, Li County and Mao County were merged to form Maowen Qiang Autonomous County.
In 1963, the original three-county was restored, and Mao County was still called Maowen Qiang Autonomous County.
In 1987, Maowen Qiang Autonomous County was revoked, and Mao County was established, and it was placed under Aba prefecture