This group is found in the next province to the west, Lào Cai. This province borders Hekou County in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan.
The Phu La are made up of two different groups with very different costumes. Each group speaks a few different languages of the Yi language family, with the two groups not necessarily being closely related.
Phù Lá Hán
This is what the Vietnamese call them. These people live in the northern districts of Lào Cai Province, right next to the Yunnan border. There are perhaps 8000 of these people in Vietnam, with a further 4000 in Yunnan. This costume falls into the Jianshui Style of the Southern Yi. [See my last article] The costume consists of pants, a shirt that fastens on the side, a bib type apron, and a kerchief or wreath on the head. This would look familiar from my other articles on Yi costume.
The full costume is not always worn. Here we have Phu La women at the market. In the background of the first image is a woman of the Flowery Hmong.
Here is a video of some Phu La Han girls singing.
Phù Lá Lão
This group is also called Xá Phó or Laghuu. There are about 1000 of these people, some of whom live south of the Phu La Han in this province, and others who have migrated further south. The costume, while very ornate and beautiful, is not of any Yi type. It rather resembles the costumes of Khmer and Tai related peoples of the area.
Lolo in Laos
The Lolo of Laos number about 1400, and live mostly in the north of Phongsali Province.This borders on Jiangcheng and Mengla Counties in Yunnan.
Some of these people are called Alu. The costume belongs to the Yuanyang Style of the Southern Yi [see my last article], and is similar to the costume of Jiangcheng. It includes a knee length gown which may be tucked into a wrap skirt. Pants are worn less commonly, because of the climate and influence of surrounding peoples. The younger women affix ornamental medallions to their turbans. No vest is worn.
Here is a video of a man visiting a Lolo village in Laos and asking to see old clothing. A couple of the women are wearing traditional costume.
Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative.
Joachim Schliesinger, 'Hill Tribes of Vietnam, vol 2', Bangkok, 1998
Joachim Schliesinger, 'Ethnic Groups of Laos vol 4', Bangkok, 2003
Ngo Duc Thinh, 'Traditional Costumes of Vietnam', Hanoi, 2009
Michael C Howard, 'Textiles and Clothing of Vietnam', Jefferson, North Carolina, 2016
Nguyen Van Huy et al, 'The Great Family of Ethnic Groups in Vietnam', Hanoi, 2011
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