The main branches of the Yao Nationality

ethnic china

The main branches of the Yao Nationality

The Yao are extended in a wide area of Southeast Asia, as Fei Xiaotong (1), one of the first anthropologists to study them, asserts:

«The Yaos characteristically lived in small, widely-scattered communities. The Yaos of Guangxi were spread over 60 or more counties, their numbers in each county varying from a hundred thousand or more to only a few thousand or a few hundred. Their villages were usually separated by several mountains. Even in the Dayao Mountains, walking from one village to another not infrequently took me a whole day when I first visited the region.»

«Living so widely dispersed; the Yaos differed markedly among themselves in language, social structure, customs, habits, religion, and even dress. These differences formed the basis of the various names by which they were known.»

Mien (Youmien). Most of the Yao belong to this branch. Usually Mien is synonym of Yao and Mien language of Yao language. In China they live in many counties of Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan and Hunan provinces. But there are not Mien communities in Guizhou. Most of the Yao of Southeast Asia are also Mien. Their population is 523,709 in China and 400.000 more in Southeast Asia.

Bunu. Inhabit mainly several counties of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Funing County in Yunnan province. They have some myths different from other Yao, as the cult to Miluotou as the mother goddess. Population: 490,853

Bingduoyou (Dainaijiang). They live in Guangxi (Gongcheng and Fuchuan counties) and Hunan provinces (Jianghua County). Population: 287,920

Jinmen. This people live in the southeast of Yunnan Province (Wenshan and Honghe Prefectures) and the southwest of Guangxi province. Population: 210,714

Nunu. They inhabit Linyun, Bama, Tianlin, Fengshan and Donglang counties in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture. Population: 102,038

Zaomin. They live in Guangdong (Lianshan and Yangshan counties) and Hunan (Yizhang County). Population: 95,036

– Younian. Population: 56,851

– Biaomei. Population: 52,799

– Naogelao or Baonuo. They live in Guangxi (Hechi, Nandan and Tian’e counties) and Lipo County of Guizhou. One of its branches is the Dounu, known outside their communities as Baiku Yao or White Pants Yao. The total population of the Naogelao is 52,655. That of the Dounu, considered for the author (2) as a branch of them, of about 30,000.

– Bunuo. Population: 35,829

– Baheng. Population: 33,157

– Biaoman. They live in Mengshan, Lipo, Pingle and Zhaoping County of Guangxi Province. Population: 27,513

– Gugangyou. They live in Luocheng County of Guangxi Province and Lanshan and Jianhua counties of Hunan Province. Population: 26,244

Lajia, also known as Chashan Yao. They are one of the five Yao branches living in Yaoshan, Jinxiu County, Guangxi Province. Their language and culture has attracted the attention of many ethnologists. There are several books about them. Population: 17.091

– Jiaogongmian. They live in Gongcheng County of Guangxi Province. Population: 16,036

– Wunao. They live in several counties of Hunan Province. Population: 12,719

– Younuo. They live in Longsheng County of Guangxi Province. Population: 9,331

– Shimen. They live in Gongcheng County of Guangxi Province. Population: 7,622

– Tuyou. They live in Hexian County of Guangxi Province. Population: 7,174

– Youjia. They live in Guanyang County of Guangxi Province. Population: 6,433

– Gandimen. They live in Jinxiu and other counties of Guangxi Province. Population: 5,570

– Aobiao. They live in Jinxiu County of Guangxi Province. Population: 3,943

– Numao. They live in Lipo County of Guizhou Province. Population: 3,665

– Nao. They live in Jinxiu County of Guangxi Province. Population: 2,626

– Beidongnuo. They live in Lipo County of Guizhou Province. Population: 779

– Zhudun Youmien. They live in Fangcheng County of Guangxi Province. Population: 511

– Shanjie. They live in Fangcheng County of Guangxi Province. Population: 479

(1) Fei Xiaotong. Revisiting the Mountains of the Yao peple. In China’s National Minorities. Great Wall Books. 1984 p. 209
(2) Liao Minjun.- Shitou shan shang you ren jia (Dwelling in the Stoney Mountains). Guangxi Nationalities Press. Nanning. 2006

Back to Yao main page

To cite this post: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, "The main branches of the Yao Nationality," in Ethnic China, 3 marzo 2021, https://ethnic-china.com/the-main-branches-of-the-yao-nationality/.

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