Jianghua Yao Autonomous County

Jianghua Yao Autonomous County is situated at the south end of Hunan Province, in the corner where Hunan, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces joint. A mountainous county with a lot of vegetation (vegetation rate reaches 74%) is known in China as the Land of Firs. "Known as the Yao Capital in China and the First Yao County in China for it has the highest population rate of Yao and the largest area for them to inhabit."(1) Jianghua Yao Autonomous County has an administrative area of 3, 248 square kilometers and a population of 457,000. Of them 273,000 are Yao, a 61,5% of the total.

Jianghua Yao Autonomous County has rich forest, mineral and hydroelectric resources.

There are three Yao branches living in Jianghua.

- Mien. They live in Dalongshan. According to their legends they came from Shangwubao in the first years of Ming dynasty.

- Bingduoyou or Yeheni, who are supposed to have arrived to Jianghua Yao Autonomous County from Jiangxi Province at the end of Song dynasty.

- The Yao people who belong to the branch Zhaishan ren or Wuzhou ren (for the place where they come), is thought to have arrived from Wuzhou City, in Guangxi Province in the 11th century

Other people call them (heteronyms) as:

- Gaoshan (High Mountain) Yao

- Pingdi (Level Land) Yao

- Dingban Yao

- Guoshan (Cross the Mountain) Yao

Every branch of the Yao living in Jianghua inhabit in a different area. Their architectural styles, dresses and marriage costumes vary according to the ethnic boundaries.

Jianghua County is famous among the Yao because it has the biggest temple to King Pan.

King Pan, the dog ancestor of some branches of de Yao, is honored during their main annual festival. These festivals to King Pang are celebrated on October 16th of lunar calendar.

(1) Yao people in Jianghua. Nationalities Press. Beijing. 2005

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