Zhuang Nationality in Wenshan Prefecture of Yunnan
Zhuang Nationality in Wenshan Prefecture
Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture lies in the eastern section of Yunnan Province. Scarcely visited by local and international tourists with populations not considered of enough interest by the academic world, is one of the less known prefectures of Yunnan province.
Far from this superficial picture, Wenshan Prefecture possesses an ethnic diversity that makes it one of the most interesting places to travel. Wenshan Prefecture is mainly populated by Zhuang, Miao, Yi and Han nationalities. Any of these nationalities have well differentiated branches, we will introduce here the main branches of the Zhuang.
As is evident to every person that has traveled in the prefecture, there is a great variety of peoples included under the name Zhuang. In fact, among the suggestions to denominate Wenshan prefecture in 1957, three proposals were forwarded:
- To call it Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.
2. Wenshan Bu Nong, Bu Ya and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.
3. Wenshan Nong, Sha and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.
At the end, as everybody can guess, the first one was chosen. Maybe the reader is now wandering what means Bu Nong, Bu Ya, Nong, or Sha.
All these names are related to the three Zhuang branches that inhabit Wenshan Prefecture: Nong, Sha and Tu.
Most of the Zhuang of Wenshan belong to the Nong branch, about 600,000 people who constitute 50-60% of the total Zhuang population. They call themselves Bu Nong or Bu Xiong, and they can be found in every county of Wenshan. There are also interesting differences among them, which makes them to be known as:
– Nong Dau or Dau, in Guangnan County.
– Nong Yang or Yang in Xichou and Malipo counties.
– Nong Du or Du in Maguan County.
– Nong Dai or Dai in Guangnan County.
– Nong Chun in Maguan County.
The Sha branch has a population of around 300,000 people. They call themselves in different ways, a variation that is reflected in their dresses.
– Bu Yai
– Bu Ha.
– Bu Yue.
The third branch, the Tu, has a population of 100,000 people, and they call themselves Pu Dai. According to their headdress they are divided in:
– «Flat Headdress» Bu Dai or Tu.
– «Piled headdress» Bu Dai or Tu.
– «Pointed headdress» Bu Bai or Tu.
All those who have traveled to Wenshan, and have found that the ethnic clothes of the Zhuang were a labyrinthic issue, now can understand that they reflect an ethnic richness maybe not considered before.
This information has been extracted of the book:
Wang Minfu and Eric Johnson.- Zhuang Cultural and Linguistic Heritage, Yunnan Nationalities Publishing House. Kunming, 2008.
Image: Author’s photograph taken in 2005.
Portrait of a Mandarin in 1800 This was the year in which a very interesting book was published, which through 60 portraits, tried to show some aspects of life in China to the western public. A book now in the public domain, from which we adapted "A Mandarin of...
The art of laying out gardens among the Chinese In the 1740s, William Chambers travelled on three trading voyages to China with the Swedish East India Company. He was the first European to study Chinese architecture methodically. In a book published in 1757, Designs...
The secret treasure of ancient Chinese art China has a fabulous artistic treasure hidden from the eyes of the public and specialists. It is her best kept treasure, because given the dispersion of its location, the difficulty of conservation and even evaluation and...