Monday, October 13, 2008

Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture

Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in Yunnan. Chuxiong has an area of 29,256 km?. The capital of the prefecture is Chuxiong City.


According to the 2000 Census, Chuxiong Prefecture has 2,542,530 inhabitants with a population density of 86.91 inhabitants/km?.

Ethnic groups in Chuxiong, 2000 census


There is one county-level city and 9 .

*Chuxiong City
*Yuanmou County
*Nanhua County
*Mouding County
*Wuding County
*Dayao County
*Shuangbai County
*Lufeng County
*Yongren County
*Yao'an County

Yi people

The Yi people are a modern ethnic group in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Numbering 8 million, they are the seventh largest of the officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They live primarily in rural areas of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, usually in mountainous regions. There are 3300 L? L? peoples living in Hà Giang, Cao B?ng and Lào Cai provinces in Vietnam.

The Yi speak , a Tibeto-Burman language closely related to , which is written in the Yi script.


The Chinese government has grouped the Nisu, Nasu, Sani, Axi, Lolopo, Pu and other peoples speaking more than six distinct languages with many dialects into a single group called the Yi. Because of this, a Yi may not be able to communicate with another Yi; and may or may not even agree that they both are Yi. Most Yi are farmers; herders of cattle, sheep and goats; and nomadic hunters. Only about one third of the Yi are literate. Most have no written language.


The Yi are , with elements of Daoism, shamanism and fetishism. Shamans/medicine men are known as “bimo.” Bimo officiate at births, funerals and weddings. They are often seen along the street consulting ancient scripts. As animists, Yi worship the spirits of ancestors, hills, trees, rocks, water, earth, sky, wind, and forests. Magic plays a major role in daily life through healing, exorcism, asking for rain, cursing enemies, blessing, divination and analysis of one's relationship with the spirits. They believe dragons protect villages against bad spirits, and demons cause diseases. After someone dies they sacrifice a pig or sheep at the doorway to maintain relationship with the deceased spirit.

The Nuosu religion distinguishes two sorts of shamans: the ? bi-mox ? and the “su-nyit”. Bi-mox are the most revered and maybe also important agents in the Nuosu religion, to the point that sometimes the Nuosu religion is also called “bimox religion”. When one can becomes a bimox by patrilineal descent after a time of apprenticeship, one becomes a su-nyit by election or after having been “elected”. Both can perform rituals. But only bimox can perform rituals linked to death. Bimox are said to be literate too. In order to preserve this heritage and promote tourism, the local government helped construct a museum to house ancient artifacts.

In Yunnan, some of the Yi have been influenced by Buddhism through the culture. The Yi believe in numerous evil spirits. They believe that spirits cause illness, poor harvests and other misfortunes and inhabit all material things. The Yi also believe in multiple souls. At death, one soul remains to watch the grave while the other is eventually reincarnated into some living form.

In the beginning of the 20th century, some Yi people in China converted to Christianity, after the arrival of medical missionaries such as Alfred James Broomhall of the China Inland Mission. According to missionary organization OMF International, the exact number of Yi Christians is not known. In 1991 it was reported that there were as many as 150,000 Yi Christians in Yunnan Province, especially in Luquan County where there are more than 20 churches.


Of the over 8 million Yi people, over 4.5 million live in Yunnan Province, 2.5 million live in southern Sichuan Province, and 1 million live in the northwest corner of Guizhou Province. Nearly all the Yi live in mountainous areas, often carving out their existence on the sides of steep mountain slopes far from the cities of China.

The altitudinal differences of the Yi areas directly affect their climate and precipitation. Their striking differences have given rise to the old saying that "the weather is different a few miles away" in the Yi area. This is the primary reason why the Yis in various areas are so different from one another in the ways they make a living.


Legend has it that the Yi are descended from the ancient Qiang people of today's Western China, who are also said to be the ancestors of the , Naxi and peoples. They migrated from Southeastern Tibet through Sichuan and into Yunnan Province, where their largest populations can be found today.

They practice a form of animism, led by a shaman priest known as the Bimaw. They still retain a few ancient religious texts written in their unique pictographic script. Their religion also contains many elements of Daoism and Buddhism.

Many of the Yi in northwestern Yunnan practiced a complicated form of slavery. People were split into the ''nuohuo '' or Black Yi and ''qunuo'' or White Yi . White Yi and other ethnic groups were held as slaves, but the higher slaves were allowed to farm their own land, hold their own slaves and eventually buy their freedom.


The Yi language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Language Group of the Sino-Tibetan Language Family, and the Yis speak six dialects. Many Yis in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi know the Han language. The Yis used to have a syllabic script called the old Yi language, which was formed in the 13th century. It is estimated that the extant old Yi script has about 10,000 words, of which 1,000 are words of everyday use. A number of works of history, literature and medicine as well as genealogies of the ruling families written in the old Yi script are still seen in most Yi areas. Many stone tablets and steles carved in the old Yi script remain intact. Since the old Yi language is not consistent in word form and pronunciation, it was reformed after liberation for use in books and newspapers.


The Yi play a number of traditional musical instruments, including large plucked and bowed string instruments, as well as wind instruments called ''bawu'' and ''mabu'' .

List of Yi sub-groups

Groups listed below are sorted by their broad linguistic classification but in reality is more of the general geographic area where they live. Within each section, largest groups are listed first.

Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture

Xishuangbanna is an autonomous prefecture in southern Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China. The capital city is Jinghong, the largest settlement in the area and one that straddles the Lancang river. The prefecture has an area of 19700 km?.

The native name literally means "twelve thousand rice fields".

Xishuangbanna is the home of the Dai people. The region sits at a lower altitude than most of Yunnan, and has a tropical climate. It is fast becoming a sought after tourist destination.

Administrative subdivisions

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