Shiping County


Shiping County lies in the northern part of Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture.

It is inhabited by the Yi, Hani and Dai nationalities. Also by the Han people that constitute the majority.

Among the national minorities living in Shiping County, the Yi are the most numerous, with a population of 110.000. In 1983, they constituted a 46.7 % of the county population.

There are three main branches of the Yi living in Shiping County: Nisu, Pula and Shansu. The Nisu, according to the different traditional dresses and make-up, are locally known as "SanDao hong" (Three red bands) and "Hua yao" (Florid waist).

The people of the Huayao branch of the Yi live in the north of the county, north of Honghe River, in the lands around Longwu. Most of them live in Yi traditional houses and speak their language. They have freedom of marriage and the bride does not go to the bridegroom house until several years after the wedding. They celebrate the Han festivals and also February Dragon Festival.

The Sandaohong branch live in the central part of Shiping County. In Baxin, Changhe and other townships, and in the banks of Yilong Lake. Those Huayao Yi living in the plains, mixed with Chinese Han for many years, have lost most of their culture (1985), having the Han ways and language. Those in the mountains still keep their language and traditional clothes. Usually they celebrate Chinese festivals and also "Ceremony to the Dragon" in second lunar month and the Torch Festival on 24th of the sixth lunar month. Their most popular dance is "Tobacco Box Dance".

The Bula branch live in isolated mountains in the south of Shiping County, in Niujie district. This name is registered in Chinese gazetteers since Ming dynasty. Most of them speak the local Chinese dialect and their own language. Before the Chinese Revolution they carried on simple lives on the top of the mountains with scarce contacts with the outside world. Their main festival is "Dancing with the Drum Festival", that is celebrated on July 15th of the lunar calendar. This day the boys go to the mountain dancing and beating the drum in a religious festival to worship the God of the Mountains. After 1949 the mountains gatherings were forbidden and the festival was celebrated inside the Bula villages.

The Shansu branch of the Yi arrived to Shiping County in the times of the Yuan Dynasty (13th century). Most of them speak Chinese.

Dai Nationality.

With a population of 5,902 in 1982 census, they inhabit the basin of the Wulangguo River, a tributary of Honghe River. Their culture is similar to that of the other Dai peoples living in Honghe prefecture and Yuanjiang County. They grow rice and sugar cane. Maybe they were the first nationality that arrived to Shiping County. They worship trees and the dragon. Every three years, the first day of the year they have a big festival to worship the dragon, when all the people in the village gather around a dragon tree dancing and singing. They call this festival "Dancing the Dragon Festival". The male playing iron rings and the female the drum of sheep skin marking the rhythm to the people dance.

In 1982 there were only 800 Hani living in Shiping County, most of them in Longwu. The Hani living in Shiping constituted a big tribe with the Hani of Yuanyang. They have an interesting funerary dance with the objective to expel the devils. They believe that when one person die is because the devils snatched his soul. The funeral dance is a kind of catharsis against the devils.

Books about Shiping County:

- Materials about Shiping in Honghe (A collection of popular dances of the nationalities of Yunnan) Honghe. 1985.

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