|History of the Bulang|
It is thought
that the Bulang are descendants of the so called Pu peoples who lived
in the Xishuangbanna area since at least the Qin Dynasty, about 2,200
years ago. This is why they are considered (with the Wa and the Deang,
with whom they share ancestry), to be one of the aboriginal peoples of
8th and 9th centuries they were known as "Puzi" meng. According
to the chronicles of travelers from those days they were hunter-gatherers.
In the beginning
of the 14th century, some of the Bulang living in Xishuangbanna Prefecture
came under the rule of the Dai Tusi (local leaders coming from the minorities
themselves who ruled on behalf of the Chinese emperor). This is how they
started being influenced by Dai religious, cultural and political life.
This influence has continued up until today.
Bulang living in Xishuangbanna Prefecture have received more influence
from the Dai people, those living in Lincang and Simao have maintained
the most unique features of traditional Bulang culture.
Ming Dynasty they started neglecting hunting and harvesting and took up
farming. Differences between Bulang living in one region and those in
another increased as some Bulang were influenced by the Han culture and
others by Dai culture.
from those days refers to the Bulang as follows:
are dark-skinned and live on the mountain peaks. Clothing, weddings and
funerals are as the Bai Luoluo".
ride horse without bridle; they walk bare-footed and are good archers".
live on the mountain peaks where they cultivate the land, burn the mountain
and cut the trees. Every field is cultivated for several years."
Qing dynasty, most of the Bulang had already settled in a territory roughly
the same as their current location. Though nominally subdued, they stirred
up revolts several times against the Tusi and the emperors. The most important
uprising was in 1861, when the Bulang from Mojiang joined the Hani who
were already in rebellion against imperial rule. This uprising lasted
for seven or eight years.
there were fairly big social differences.
In the regions
of Lincang and Simao there was a strong feudal system. They had lost the
previous communal ownership of the land (except for the cemeteries), and
had devolved into a private property system that handed over vast amounts
of land to landowners who rented it out to peasants at exorbitant rates.
During the years of the Republic of China, the Bai-Jia system was introduced
in this area, in order to better control the minorities living in the
they were still in the last stages of an earlier societal system, but
also at the beginning of a rising feudalism. Their economic growth was
much slower. Under Dai rule, they appointed hereditary chiefs, known as
"Ba", who ruled over several small villages and collected taxes
for the Tusi.
villages, which were made up of between 20 to 100 families, had communal
property over farmlands, forests and pastures. But even though they all
had the right to work the land, nobody had the right to sell any portion
of the common property. However, at the time of the Revolution of 1949
the first steps taken to privatize the land had greatly profited the newly
modernization of Bulang life make impossible to foresee how they and their
traditional culture will fare in the future.
The Bulang living in Bulangshan and other remote areas of Xishuangbanna Prefecture are facing hard times in recent years, due to the removal of some services formerly provided by the government, such as health services, education, and infrastructures, resulting in a lack of opportunities to enjoy the benefits of a market economy.
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