The face tattooed Dulong


The Dulong are known in China as the face tattoo people. This is because before 1956 most of the Dulong women tattooed their faces. A painful experience that identify their belonging to a clan, rendering them beautiful to Dulong eyes and ugly to their Tibetan neighbors.

The Dulong, also known as Drung or Derong were called Qiu in the past.

They are one of the officially recognized minorities with a scarcer population. Their population was of 7,428 people, according to the census of 2000. In 1982 they were only 4,600 people and 5,800 in 1990.

They live in one of the regions of more difficult access of Yunnan Province: the valley of the Dulong River (formerly called Qiu River), officially known as Gongshan Nu and Dulong Autonomous County, part of Nujiang Lisu and Nu Autonomous Prefecture.

The Dulong have been isolated from the rest of China until recent years; the first highway to their lands was built in the first years of the 21st century.

Great part of its territory is mountainous forests with abundant rains: Lands of little fertility that has turned them into one of the poorest peoples in China.

The Dulong language belongs to the Tibetan-Burmese group. It has two dialects.

- Dulong River dialect.
- Nujiang River dialect.

There are some linguistic and cultural differences between the people who speak these dialects. Maybe there are two different ethnic groups included under the common denomination of Dulong.

Back to Dulong main page

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