Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Introduction to the costumes of the Miao-Yao, or Hmongic-Mienic peoples, part 2 The Western Hmongic Peoples

Hello all, 
today I will talk about the third branch of the Miao/Hmongic language family. The West Hmongic,  or the Qianzhongnan Miao,which has nine branches and from 3 to 15 tones. These people are mostly found in south central Guizhou Province. The two exceptions are A Hmao and Hmong proper. The A Hmao are found in northeast and north central Yunnan Province, as wellas a small part of westernmost Guizhou Province.. The most widespread and well known language of this group is Hmong, which is found from Sichuan Province through northern and western Guizhou Province through Yunnan Province and into Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. I will cover the Hmong in my next article.  I will present costumes by language group.

These people have their own distinct language, but call themselves Mhong. The Han Chinese call them the Chonganjiang Miao. They live along the Chongan (Zhong'an) river in Huangping and neighboring counties, especially in the village of Matang. They number about 50,000.These are the easternmost of the West Hmongic peoples, and are outnumbered by the surrounding speakers of Northern Hmu. Not surprisingly, they consider themselves to be distinct from them, and have repeatedly petitioned the government to be considered a separate nationality. 
An ancient Chinese myth reports that when the world was young, there were nine suns who took it in turns to fly across the sky, one at a time. Being young and restless, they chafed at this restriction, and finally decided to fly up all together. This, of course, caused the Earth to burn. A great archer by the name of Li shot down eight of the nine suns, and so saved the world. The Gejia claim to be descended from him.

Two girls working on batik, for which this group is particularly known.


 A Hmyo
The Han call these people the Luobohe Miao. There are more than 50,000 in Kaiyang, Fuquan, Longli, Guiding, Weng'an, and other counties in Guizhou province. who live just west of the northern Hmu.

These ladies are from Guiding county

 Machangping of Fuquan county

The Han call these the Pingtang Miao. They speak their own language of the western Hmongic family. They live south of the A Hmyo, in Pingtang county in southern Guizhou province, and over the border in Nandan county in Guangxi province.

Northern Kaluo of Pingtang

Youbia of PIngtang

Southern Yueli of Nandan, Guangxi

These group is centered on Guiyang County, which lies to the west of the A Hmyo.

The most famous and impressive costume of this group is that of Huaxi. The embroidery at the head of the article is Huaxi work.

Tieshi of Qianxi

 Songshan township, Ziyun county


Wangjiashan of Anshun

This group is centered on the county of the same name which lies to the south of Guiyang.

Gaopo near Guiyang


Baijin of Huishui

Some of these photographs were taken in the village of Gaozhai. The men wear Han Chinese costumes from the Qing dynasty. The hat is the only thing which is native.

Here an older woman demonstrates how to pleat material for a skirt.

Western Yarong of Huishui

This group is distinguished by the long skirt with an unusual arrangement of motifs.

These people are also called the Mashan Miao. They live to the southwest of the Huishui, and west of the Pingtang, in the counties of Ziyun, Luodian, Wangmo and Changshun.

This is worn around the township of Lewang in Wangmo county, as well as in neigboring regions of Luodian and Ziyun counties. 

 Jiao'e village of Donshun Township, Wangmo County


Zongdi area of Ziyun county

Sidazhai of Ziyun County

Qinghai of Ziyun county

A Hmao
The Han call these people the Big Flowery Miao, or the Northwest Yunnan Miao. They live mostly in northwestern Yunnan Province, as well as in the Weishing area of Guizhou Province, separated from the other objects of this article by Hmong and other peoples.

This clothing, unlike the others which we have looked at, incorporates wool.

 Weining County, Guizhou province.

 Chuxiong county of Yunnan province.

The eighth group are the Bunu, who, although they speak a Hmongic language, are culturally Yao. I will cover them when I write about the Yao/Mien.

The ninth group are the Hmong proper, called by the Han the Chuanqiandian Miao.
They inhabit scattered areas from Sichuan province, through the western parts of Guizhou and Guangxi provinces, Yunnan province, and over the border into the hill country of northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, from which some have migrated to the west. This will be the subject of part 3.

Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. Perhaps some of you will try some of the embroideries pictured.

If I have mistakenly assigned some of these costumes to the wrong language group, then please send me better information, Thank you

Roman K

email: rkozakand@aol.com

Source Material:
Robert Lam Ping-fai et al, 'Ethnic Costumes of the Miao People in China, Hong Kong, 1986
Tomoko Torimaru, 'One Needle, One Thread', Honolulu, 2008
Wu, Shizhong, 'A picture album of China's Miao Costumes and Ornaments', Guiyang, 2000
Zhao Yuchi et al, 'Clothings and Ornaments of China's Miao People', Beijing, 1985
Yan Da, et al, 'Miao's Attires', Guiyang, 2010
Deryn O'Connor, 'Miao Costumes', Southhampton England, 1994
Florian Knothe et al, 'Embroidered Identities', Hong Kong, 2013
Gina Corrigan, ' Miao Textiles from China' Seattle, 2001
Zeng Xiangyang, 'Ethnic Miao Embroidery', 2009


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy reading your posts.