In ancient times, the Country of Dali was founded by Siping Duan in 937 A.D. and the reign of the Dali Dynasty started after he conquered the prior dynasty Nanzhao, whose capital was the city of Yanqiemie, now called Taihe Village in the City of Dali in Yunnan Province. Dali was also called “the Country of Wonderful Fragrance” due to its respect for Buddhism. In 1906, Zhengchun Duan took over the reign after Shentai Gao’s death, and started ruling the country which was later called the Latter Dali by historians. In 1253, the Mongolian King Kublai Khan marched across the Jin Sha River and conquered Dali as well as other small countries in Yunnan. Kublai Khan claimed Dali as part of Mongolian territories, and set up administrative districts in the region of Yunnan. The former rulers, the Duan’s , were appointed as the hereditary General Executives of Dali district.
As the descendants of people from ancient Dali, Bai people calls themselves “Bai He” who can be tracked back to an ethnic minority group with a long history and a distinct culture on the southwest border of China. The earliest record of Bai people appeared in the Sui Dynasty, in which the written historical documents called them “Bai Ren”. But later since the Ming Dynasty, they were known as “Min Jia (ordinary people)” in official records. In history, Bai people was once the largest ethnic group in Yunnan. There were times during the Tang, Song, Yuan Dynasties when Bai people became the dominant group in the region of Yunnan.
Mount Jizu is the birthplace for Zen Buddhism and has cultivated generations of renowned monks who enjoyed high achievements in Buddhism. Throughout its hundreds and thousands of history, Mount Jizu has witnessed countless historical and cultural events. The Wanli Emperor had honored the mountain to house the most precious Buddhist scriptures as well as awarding the purple cassock that symbolizes dignity and loftiness to the famous monks. Apart from being dubbed as the “Soul Mountain of the City of Buddhism”, Mount Jizu has also earned itself a name for its significant mountaintop views, steep hills, diverse landscapes and magnificent sceneries. The most famous traveller in ancient Chinese history, Xiake Xu, had highly praised the Mountain by remarking that Mount Jizu has included all the grand views that could be found at home and abroad throughout the history and that Mount Jizu really deserves the reputation of toping other mountains in China. Beihong Xu, the famous Chinese artist, had composed a poem on Mount Jizu, "Mount Linjiu in Sichuan Province is famous for its natural scenes, but it becomes a barren land when compared to the lavish Mount Jizu”.
The master god worship is a kind of multi- god worship, different regions and villages have sculptures of their own master gods. As well, several or even several dozens of villages jointly believe in one master god. The responsibilities of master gods are different, respetively for the business of "underworld" and mortal world, the military underworld, human diseases, livestock, etc in various forms. The master god recognized in awareness of Bai people is patron saint of village community in charge of fortunes of life and death of local regions or villages, capable to protect country and people, bless people safe and good luck, good weather for the crops, good harvests, and domestic animals are all thriving. Almost all villages of Bai people are built up with master god temples dedicating to clay sculptures or woodcarving of master gods. According to statistics in 1990, there are total 986 master god temples in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture.