Puer ethnic exuberance

 

Reading a small book about Puer Prefecture (1) I have the feeling that the usual picture did not accurately reflects the ethnic richness of this area. Though the book is only a small manual, without any pretension of provide a complete overview of the ethnic minorities living in Puer, it can give the reader, however, an overall idea of its ethnic variety. Summarizing the information the reader can find in its pages, we found 33 ethnic groups living in Puer.

The Hani is the major ethnic minority in Puer, with a population of 421,200 persons who belong to several Hani branches:

Biyue
Kadou
Aini (Akha)
Budu
Lami
Amu
Bukong
Qiedi
Kabie
Haini

The Yi nationality is the second in Puer, with a population of 411,100 persons who belong to the following main branches:

Alie
Menghua
Xiangtang
Luoluopo
Shesu
Lawu
Soudu

There are 284.600 Lahu in Puer. Both branches Lahuny and Lahuna live I the prefecture.

And some Kucong people officially recognized as Lahu.

The Wa are 144,000, speaking three different dialects: Ximeng, Menglian and Langcang. They wear also different clothes.

The 137,500 Dai belong, at least to four Dai branches: Dai Na, Dai Lue, Dai Beng and Dai She.

In Puer Prefecture live also an important number of other nationalities, as:

- Bulang Nationality.
- Hui Nationality.
- Bai Nationality.
- Yao Nationality
- Lisu Nationality
- Miao Nationality.

This overall picture is a fascinating ethnic panorama that reflects the mountainous nature of this prefecture, its difficult communications and the isolation in which many lived during most of their history.

(1) Mao Dechang, Zhao Zehong, Bai Yinghua and Lin Shui.- Simao - Yunnan xiangtu wenhua congshu (Simao - Yunnan Folk Culture Series). Yunnan Education Press. 2003

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