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The Southern Minority People
The natives living in the mountains of southwestern China number the most variety in today's China. Especially noteworthy would be Yunnan Province, i.e., the original habitation of the ancient Nan-zhao & Da-li statelets. Among 56 ascertained ethnic groups, Yunnan Province was in possession of 26 groups, comprising of one third of the provincial population. Specific to Yunnan Province would be about 16 groups, while the other 10 lived across multiple provinces and borders.
Dwelling in Yunnan would be the following ethnic groups: Lahu-zu, Pumi-zu, Nu-zu (nu meaning angry, and a river was named Nu-jiang, too), Dulong-zu (i.e., lonely dragon), and Jinuo-zu. Other ethnic groups in Yunnan that span across provinces would be Zang-zu (Tibetan), Hui-zu (Muslim), Miao-zu (the same 'miao' character as SanMiao), Zhuang-zu, and Yao-zu. Separately, the provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan and Sichuan harbored numerous other ethnic groups. In Guizhou Province could be found Shui-zu (water), Gelao-zu, and Buyi-zu, in addition to cross-border groups like Miao-zu, Yi-zu, Dong-zu, Zhuang-zu, and Yao-zu. In Guangxi Province could be found Mulao-zu, Maonan-zu, Jing-zu, in addition to cross-border groups like Miao-zu, Dong-zu, Zhuang-zu, and Yao-zu. (Jing-zu is the majority ethnic group in today's Vietnam.) Zhuang-zu and Yao-zu also dwelled in Guangdong and Hunan provinces. In the south and southeast, Hainan-dao Island possesses Li-zu minority. Fujian & Zhejiang provinces possess She-zu minority. Gaoshan-zu (high mountain ethnic group) would be in Fujian Province & the Taiwan Island.
Per Scholar Zhan Quanyou ("The Culture of the Nan-zhao & Da-li Statelets", 2002 edition, Sichuan People's Press, Chengdu, Sichuan), Yi-zu's ancestor would be Wu-man (i.e., the black barbarian); Bai-zu's ancestor would be Bai-man (i.e., the white barbarian); Dai-zu's or Thai ancestor would be Jin-chi-man (i.e., the gold teeth barbarian), Yin-chi-man (i.e., the silver teeth barbarian), Hei-chi-man (i.e., the black teeth barbarian) and Mang-man; Bulang-zu and De'ang-zu belonged to Pu-zi-man; Wa-zu belonged to Wang-man; A'chang-zu belonged to Xunchuan-man; Jingbo-zu belonged to Luo-xing-man (i.e., nude body barbarian); Naxi-zu belonged to Mo-xie-man; Lisu-zu belonged to Shi-man and Shun-man; and Hani-zu belonged to He-man. (Here, Bai or Wu has nothing to do with the color of the skin, and both groups belonged to Sino-Tibetan Di-Qiang people.)
Zhan Quanyou further grouped Dai-zu under the Bai-yue or Hundred Yue Family; Bulang-zu, De'ang-zu and Wa-zu under Bai-pu or the Hundred Pu Family; A'chang-zu, Jingbo-zu, Naxi-zu, Lisu-zu, Bai-zu, Yi-zu and Hani-zu under the Di-Qiang Family.
Originally, southwestern China was the domain of the Hundred Pu people who had trades with the Ba-shu people in today's Sichuan basin and the Hundred Yue people in the Pearl River delta.
Upon Zhang Qian's return from the west after a span of 13 years, Emperor Wudi first ordered 4 expeditions to the southwest of China to search for a route to India. This was because Zhang Qian reported to the emperor that he saw 'jujiang' (betel pepper) soy sauce (from Zangke-jiang, i.e., today's Beipan-jiang River, a place in northern Guizhou and near today's Sichuan Province), bamboo products from Qiong (in today's Sichuan), and 'Shu' (today's Sichuan) clothing which the Bactria merchants said were shipped over from India. Emperor Wudi then ordered expeditions to the west in 122 B.C., but the expeditions, under the command of Wang Ranyu, Bai Shichang and Lv Yueren et als., failed to find a path through the mountains. When passing through the southwestern barbarian states of Dian-yue and Ye-lang, the Han emissary was asked a question about the size of the Han empire versus their domains. King Chang-qiang of the Dian-guo statelet purported dispatched over a dozen search teams to the west on behalf of the Han emissaries in search of a path but reported back one year later to state that they were obstructed by the Kunming-guo statelet. Han emissary, Tang Meng, when visiting today's Canton area, noted that Nan-Yue or the Southern Yue was using some 'jujiang' (betel pepper) soy sauce --which Han emissary Zhang Qian had observed while visiting today's Afghanistan in Central Asia. Tang Meng inquired about the source, and came up with the idea of conquering the Nan-yue state by borrowing an army from the barbarians in Southwest China to sail down the Zangke River, which probably connected with the West River of today's Guangdong Province. The Han emissary said that the Zangke River, by which the Yelang Statelet dwelled, flew into Panyü of today's Guangdong Province. In 135 B.C., Tang Meng was dispatched to the Yelang Statelet as a magistrate. The Han court, prior to zoning the Zangke-jun Commandary, had organized part of the southwestern territory into two counties of Nan-yi and Ye-lang, with one 'du wei' in charge. The Yelang Statelet, with 100,000 strong army, was targeted by Han as a ally in the war on the Southern Yue. Later, on the pretext that the Yelang state killed a Han emissary, the Han army killed a chieftain of the southern barbarians and took over the territory as the Zangke (Yangke?) Commandary, namely, today's Guizhou Province, in 111 B.C. During Han Emperor Chengdi's reign (28-25 B.C.), the Yelang state rebelled against the Han rule. The Han armies, commanded by Chen Lishen the new magistrate for the Zangke-jun Commandary, killed chieftain Xing4 of the southern barbarians and took over the territory of the Zangke (Yangke?) Commandary, namely, today's Guizhou Province.
Dominance Of the Tibeto-Burman language
Zhan Quanyou cited one school of thought: the people dwelling to the west and northwest of Yunnan Province, i.e., the Tibetans, Yi-zu, Bai-zu, Hani-zu, Naxi-zu, Lisu-zu, and Lahu-zu, all belonged to the descendants of the ancient Di-Qiang people linguistically, i.e., the Tibetan branch and Yi-zu branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family.
The interesting thing about southwestern China will be the so-called the Tibeto-Burman language. As detailed in the section on Tibetans, the Tibetans belong to a larger language family called Sino-Tibetan. The Tibeto-Burman branch consists of 2-300 languages spoken primarily in the uplands of Inner, South, and Southeast Asia, and could be found from Sichuan and Qinghai in the north to the southern extremity of Myanmar (Burma), northwestern Vietnam, and northern Pakistan in the west. Tibetans are related to the minorities in today's southwestern China, for example, Mo-so & Lo-lo (aka Yi-zu minority) people. Mo-so & Lo-lo peoples are pockets of minorities who had survived thousands of years of human migrations from north to south. Most of the early southerners would have been pushed out of southern China a long time ago, and a migration path could be separately painted for the Polynesians, the Southeast Asians in the Philiphines and Indonesia/Malaysia, and the peoples in Vietnam, Burma and Thailand. Note that there already had occurred early waves of migrations hundreds of years before the Mongols destroyed the independent state of Nan-Zhao (Da-Li) in AD 1253. Today's Shan and Thai peoples in Burma and Thailand are refugees of Nan-Zhao Statelet.
Brief Introduction To the Southern Minorities
In Yunnan Province, several tribes lived along the banks of Du-long [lonely dragon] River & Nujiang River [angry river or En-mei-kai River in Burma]. Du-long River flows 150 kilometers southward in parallel with Nujiang River, with ridges on two banks reaching as high as 3000-4000 meters. Among Dulong-zu, Nu-zu, Pumi-zu, Lisu-zu, Bai-zu, Yi-zu, Jingpo-zu and Wa-zu who dwelled along Nujiang River, Dulong-zu & Nu-zu were in seclusion. Dulong-zu people, numbering 4800 people by 1982 census, dwelled inside of Du-long River Valley, with outside world contacts through south valley mouth for only three months per year. Dulong-zu had a customs of killing ox for oblation; however, they rarely could afford to buy an ox. Dulong-zu had a custom of marriage between niece and aunt across all villages. Nu-zu, across the mountain and by the bank of Nujiang River, possessed 22000 people by 1982 census. Nu-zu have 5 months time for connecting with the outside world. Before iron spread there in early years of R.O.C., Nu-zu used stone tools for plowing. Nu-zu have a custom of celebrating long-lasting marriages, similar to diamond memorial.
Lisu-zu, to the south of Nu-zu, was part of ancient Wu-man barbarians, aka Li-man in Tang Dynasty records. Lisu-zu could have migrated to Nujiang from Lancangjiang & Jinshajiang river area during Qing Dynasty time period. Lisu-zu claimed origin in Tian-jin, i.e., Chengdu of Sichuan Prov. Lisu-zu people love sliding across river by hanging cord, dancing on charcoal fire, and climbing knife ladder, a custom passed on from Ming Dynasty time period when they helped defeat Burmese tribes. They have a habit of 'gong fang' (i.e., public house) for dating, and like to drink wine via same bowl.
Bai-zu have 1 million plus by 1982 census data. Duan Siping of Dali-guo Statelet (AD 937-1253) originated in Bai-man, i.e., ancestors of today's Bai-zu. There are two groups of Bai-zu, mountainside Bai-zu and plains Bai-zu. On the west bank of Nujiang and two banks of Lancangjiang, there are small number of Bai-zu communities. Bai-zu, around Erhai area, produced numerous literature, epics and chronicles.
Pumi-zu, numbering less than 20,0000 per 1982 census, had no automonous region of their own. However, Pumi-zu possessed an ancient chronicle entitled 'kai lu jing' [Classics Of Paving Road]. Pumi-zu, at the burial time, liked to use sheep for hint as to soul's willingness to return north. Pumi-zu could have origin in ancient Xi-fan [western barbarians], aka Ba-ju. Cai Ah-dong claimed that they could have origin in ancient Xi-rong or Rong-qiang people. Pumi-zu called themselves Pei-mi (white man), and Cai Ah-dong stated that they were the same as Bai-lang-guo (white wolf country) which sought vassalage with Han Emperor Mingdi (reign 58-750). Pumi-zu have beautiful clothes, and wear pants and skirts from age 13 onward, and they possessed strict guidelines as to inter-marriages between clans.
Close to Burma, Jing-po-zu, beyond Gaoli-Gongshan mountain ranges, possessed 100,000 per 1982 census. Jing-po-zu had an autonomous region with Dai-zu. Jing-po-zu could have origin in Xunchuan tribe of Tang Dynasty time period. Like La-hu-zu, Jing-po-zu hunted tigers and lived on ridges. Jing-po-zu fought British in late 19th century. Jing-po-zu are fond of bride abduction. Dai-zu, known as Thai in Thailand, with a population of 800,000 plus per 1982 census, live in the famous xi-shuang-ban-na district. Dai-zu claimed to have originated from ancient Bo-ren ('bo' meaning peace and freedom in Dai). Dai-zu belonged to Zhuang-Dong branch, while Yi-zu belonged to Tibetan-Burmese branch. Per Cai Ah-dong, Dai-zu could be ancient Jin-chi (gold teech) barbarians. Dai-zu could be classified into two groups: Han-bai-yi [land Dai] in west Yunnan and Shui-bai-yi [water Dai] in southern Yunnan. Dai-zu sought vassalage with Song Emperor Xiaozong during Chunxi Era 7th Year, i.e., AD 1180. It would be Dai calendar 542nd year. Song court conferred King of Dai with a tiger-head seal and 'dao' (knife) surname. Cai Ah-dong stated that Dai-zu calendar could be as old as Zhou Dynasty. Today's Dai-zu possessed a local chronicle dating from 1180 onward. Dai-zu eat all foods, including insects, are good at agriculture, possess good housing styles, and possess the famous Po-shui-jie [water pouring] festival.
Wa-zu, living in stone age not long ago, used to killing each other between villages. Cai Ah-dong stated that Wa-zu could be Wang-ren or Ha-la in ancient times. Wa-zu like to make big dangling ears. Lahu-zu, meaning tiger-hunting tribe and numbering 34,000 by 1982, lived on two banks of Lancangjiang River. Lahu-zu could be Kunming-man barbarians and might be Qiangic. Lahu-zu at one time fought British invasion. Bulang-zu, numbering 58,000 by 1982, could be from ancient Pu, Pu-zi-man, Ailaoyi, Min-pu, or Luo-pu. Cai Ah-dong stated that Zhuge Liang of Three Kingdoms time period might have forced them into a migration. Benglong-zu (i.e., De'ang-zu), being a neighbor of Bulang-zu, numbered 12000 per 1982 census. De'ang-zu are a tea growing people. Cai Ah-dong stated that De'ang-zu could be Pu in Han-Jinn dynasties, Mang-man in Sui-Tang dynasties, Inchi-guo in Song-Yuan dynasties, and Pu-ren or Ha-la in Ming-Qing dynasties. Cai Ah-dong stated that Benglong-zu (De'ang-zu), Bulang-zu and Wa-zu all belonged to ancient Pu people, and they are close to Khmer in language.
A-chang-zu, numbering 20,400 per 1982 census, could be ancient Mang-man barbarian and Ailaoguo statelet. They could also be known as Er'chang-man or Xunchuan-man. They like to eat snakes and are good at making A-chang-dao knife.
Ji-nuo-zu produced tea similar to De'ang-zu and Dai-zu, and their language was similar to Yi-zu language. Numering 12000 per 1982 census data, Ji-nuo-zu claimed to be descendants of the soldiers of Kong Ming (i.e., Zhuge Liang of Three Kingdoms time period), stating that their ancestors were lost while following Kong Ming in southern campaigns. Ji-nuo-zu possessed a Kong-ming-mao hat, and they inherited an "abduction game" for teenagers reaching adulthood age 16.
Hani-zu, numbering 1,060,000 per 1982 census, would be the biggest group in Yunnnan Prov. Cai Ah-dong claimed that they could be He-yi barbarian of 3rd century BC in Daduhe River area, or He-man barbarian in Tang Dynasty, or 37-barbarian-groups in Yuanjiang River area during Dali Statelet time period. Na-xi-zu numbered 240000 per 1982 census. The interesting thing about Na-xi-zu would be so-called legend and customs of "nu-er-guo" (i.e., women statelet): They possessed "a-zu-hun" whereby women, never married to a single man, would just accept whoever man visits her house. Na-xi-zu, per Cai Ah-dong, could be ancient 'Hao' or 'Mosha-yi' barbarian.
Yi-zu minority, numbering 5,000,000 per 1982 census, used to possess a caste society similar to Indians. They possessed two groups, i.e., Bai-yi (i.e., White Yi-zu) of Western Cuan Family and Hei-yi (i.e., Black Yi-zu) of Eastern Cuan Family. Note that white or black has nothing to do with skin, but Black Yi-zu's claim that they had black bones of noble blood lineage. Black Yi-zu used to require that all Yi-zu people must recite their family lineages by tracing dozens of generations backward, and hence Black Yi-zu could usually catch fleeing White Yi-zu slaves by exposing the loopholes of the family heritage. Yi-zu could be traced to Na-man or Xinan-yi of Han Dynasty time period, and later Cuan-man barbarians controlled by Cuan family. Yi-zu would be equivalent to Wumeng-man barbarians that established the Nanzhao Statelet, and they had a strict slave society that continued well into 20th century. (There are Western "racial approach" experts who tried to dig up a non-Mongoloid origin for the Yi-zu minority. Alternatively, some Chinese scholar had compared the Yi-zu people to the Tanguts of Xi-xia [Western Xia] Dynasty, claiming that they all possessed dark face with red decoration and comparatively higher nose bridge.)
Qiang-zu, numbering 112000 per 1982 census, possibly the most orthodox descendant of ancient Qiangic people, now dwell mostly around Minjiang River area of Sichuan Prov. A good website about the today's Qiangs would be http://www.infomekong.com/p_group_Tibetan_1.htm. Qiang-zu are fond of building their houses into citadels, per Cai Ah-dong, a tradition most likely resulting from historical confrontations with people around them.
Miao-zu, numbering 5 million per 1982 census, are said to be descendants of ancient Lord Chiyou. In accordance with Luu Simian dissertation, San-Miao, with 'miao' meaning descendants, could point to three ancient clans and tribes of Dihong-shi, Jinyun-shi, Shaohao-shi as their ancestors. Miao-zu's epic talked about "westward migration", which pointed to the fact that they had probably dwelled more to the center and east of China in ancient times. Miao-zu like to wear beautiful clothes and hats.
Buyi-zu, numbering 2100000 per 1982 census, could be ancient Yelang-guo Statelet of Guizhou Province, and the later ancient Luo-yue or Lao-ren [Liao-ren] people. Cai Ah-dong claimed that Luo-yue, Lao-ren [Liao-ren] and Xi-ou had converged to the ancient Zangke & Yelang statelets, with Zangke dwelling around the Hong-shui River. The Buyi-zu people are fond of blowing the ancient "chui sheng" musical instruments that were often utilized during the Spring & Autumn time period of Zhou Dynasty. Dong-zu, numbering 142,5000 per 1982 census, was said to be a branch of the Hundred Yue people and had migrated from Jiangxi Province to today's Guangxi Prov. They had a custom of building "diaojiaolou", i.e., a kind of house that sit on one single pole. Cai Ah-dong claimed that Dong-zu could be ancient Tong-miao barbarian. Shui-zu, numering 286000, lived apart from each other. They could be ancient Xi-dong in Sui Dynasty time period and could be possibly Luo-yue descendants. Shui-zu has a language of 200 characters that are, in fact, the inverse shape of Han Chinese characters. Shui-zu have similar festivals as Han Chinese, and they are good at making strong liquor that is equiv to "maotaijiu" liquor. Ge-lao-zu, numering 510000 per 1985 census, dwelled in Zunyi of Guizhou Province, and they were said to be descendants of San Miao. Ge-lao-zu were known as Lao-zi [Liao-zi] in ancient times and they are fond of pulling out upper teeth as beauty.
TO BE CONTINUED !!!!!
written by Ah Xiang
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