The Lijiang's iconicity in art is a relatively recent invention
From a source high in the Mao'er Mountain the Lijiang River sweeps south toward Guilin and into the world's imagination. Millions each year take to its waters, weaving between poetic peaks and submerged islands in search of scenery that arguably epitomizes Chinese landscape beauty. The Lijiang River scenery was even selected as a suitably phantasmagoric location for the Star Wars films.
In the world's eyes, Guilin's karst hills and jade waters are quintessential China. Images of Guilin's iconic karst peaks dignify conference rooms and lobbies across China and grace China's office at the United Nations and her embassy in Washington D.C. The use of the Lijiang River as an emblematic subject of Chinese landscape painting received the ultimate stamp of approval when it was pressed on the 20 yuan banknote.