Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Sino Tibetan Peoples part 4g. Lolopo or Central Yi

Hello all, 
This will be my last article in this series about the Yi people. This article will talk about the Central Yi, or Luoluopo, also called the Chuxiong Yi. The image above shows some of the costumes of this region

These people inhabit the central portion of Yi territory, including the eastern part of Chuxiong Prefecture, and the northwest part of Kunming Prefecture. Here is a rough map of the area covered. 

 Dayao Style

This is found in the northwestern part of this region, in Dayao, Yaoan and Yongren Counties. 

Here is an image of some girls from Dayao, showing off the abundant applique and embroidery of their outfits. Note in particular the heavily cross stitched shoulder bags. 

Here we have the general costume pieces, but very heavily ornamented with embroidery, soutache, and applique. Here is a woman's outfit.

A vest is sometimes worn, as are embroidered waist streamers and elaborately ornamented reticules. 

Often colorful embroidered kerchiefs top the headdress.

The ornament on the costume varies by locality. Here are some women from the village of Shuwala

Highly embroidered shoulder bags are carried by both men and women.

Men dress more simply. 

A few more images of this style.


 Here we see at least three different styles of costume. The three girls with their backs to us 
are in the Dayao Costume. 

Here is a baby carrier from this region. 

Unfortunately the Mao cap has replaced the traditional headdress to some extent. 



Although it lies in this area, Guihua has a unique and very different costume, based on applique and patchwork.

This girl is wearing a Guihua coat, although the rest of the outfit does not match. The cap is from Zhijiu in Wuding County. The bag is in the Dayao style. 

Here the woman on the right is wearing the Guihua costume

Luongchan Style

This style is found in the southwest of Chuxiong Prefecture, including the Counties of Chuxiong, Muoding, Nanhua and Shuangbai along the Longchuan River. 

This costume has an apron with a relatively narrow bib and silver chains holding it around the neck. 



Here is a typical outfit. Again, this will vary in details by locality.

In the Daguokou and Shuangbai districts of Chuxiong Municipality, an elegant variant of this is worn. 



 These girls are from Muliu in Chuxiong

 Men's costumes are similar to other regions. Note that the goatskin vest is worn here as well. The instrument, xianzi, is typical for the Yi in this area.

In this area, unusually, the men sometimes wear leather or embroidered aprons with pockets.

 Just a couple more images of what I believe to be this style.

On the 8th day of the 2nd month, the Yi of Chuxiong celebrate the Flower Arranging Festival. In this first image a Bimo, a priest of the Yi indigenous religion blesses the festival. 

One of the strongest Traditions of the Yi in this area is left foot dancing. There are many of these dances, all with different patterns of stepping and kicking. This type of dancing is still very popular, and all join in, even local Han Chinese, who have no such tradition.
This example is in the Mouding style. 

Wuding Style

  This style is worn in the Counties of Wuding, Yongren, Yuanmou, and Shuangbai in Chuxiong Prefecture, as well as the counties of Luquan, Fuming and Xundian, found in Kunming and Qujiang Prefectures.

The shirts have round ornament around the shoulders, edged with silver dangles, which more recently have been replaced with fringe, and especially elaborately ornamented pants with ribbons and especially with cross stitched dancers.

The caps vary widely by locality. Here are a couple of girls wearing the 'parrot beak' cap of Wuding.

Here is a little girl's outfit from Wuding and Lufeng. Note the silver ornaments, the apron without a bib, the fancy pants and a fanciful cap so typical for small children.

Here is an outfit for an older woman from Wuding.

Some details of embroidery and applique. 

 Butterfly Cap of Lufeng


 Oriental Cherry Cap of Yuanmou


 Unusual knitted cap of Luquan.


 Zhijiu District of Yongren County

 This costume is famous and often seen, but has a limited distribution. It is highly ornamented, and females of all ages wear a distinctive cockscomb shaped cap. This cap is set crossways on the head.


 This woman is wearing the goatskin vest which is found in this area and also in the west of Yunnan.



  Here we see the back of one of these caps.


 Here are some men from this region doing a left foot dance, wearing the goatskin vests.

Maojie of Wuding

In this region we see long coats, and fireweed [Gerbera delavayi] cloth is again common. Also the mantle worn over the shoulder reappears in this area, woven of fireweed cloth and embroidered. 


 Fireweed vest worn by men.



This lies in the easternmost part of this area, including the counties of Xundian, Songming, Shizong and Luoping of Kunming Prefecture.

 In this region, they have retained an older and completely different way of dressing, Which is shared with some Hmong communities in the area. The most distinctive garment is a sort of poncho which is pulled over the head and then cinched at the waist. This is worn over a skirt.








 The men wear wide pants, a wide sleeved coat, and over that a vest, together with a black turban. 


 This concludes my writings on the Yi people for now. This series of articles, in spite of their length, did not include every costume of the Yi people. I have several images which I have collected which do not match any of the styles which I have covered. If anyone can point me towards more information I would be grateful. 

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. Perhaps some of you will be inspired to use Yi embroidery designs in some of your projects and bring some of this beauty to your homes. 

Roman Kozak


Source Material:
Unknown Author. 'Dress and Festivals of the Minority Peoples of Yunnan', Yunnan, 2004
Dr Florian Knothe et al, 'Embroidered Identities Ornately Decorated Textiles and Accessories of Chinese Ethnic Minorities' 2014, Hong Kong
Jim Goodman, 'The Exploration of Yunnan', Kunming, 2006
Unknown Author, 'The Costumes and Adornments of Chinese Yi Nationality Picture Album', Beijing, 1990
Deng Qiyao et al, 'The Folk Arts of Yunnan Ethnics', Yunnan, 1993
Chen Hongguang et al, 'Ethnic Costumes Clothing Decorations from China', Chengdu, Sichuan, 1995
Bernard Formoso, 'Costumes du Yunnan', Nanterre, 2013
Shan Ren et al, 'The Cream of Yunling - A Photo Odyssey of Yunnan Ethnic Groups', Kunming, 1998