Xinping Yi and Dai Autonomous County


Xinping County lies about 200 kilometers south of Kunming. With a population of 271,000 and an extension of 4,139 square kilometers, is a mainly mountainous county with few good roads communicating the main economic centers, specially the road that goes from the national highway in the east, across the district capital, until the rich townships of the west (Mosha and Gasha).

Most of Xinping County is a succession of mountains that are populated by some Yi, Hani and Miao populations.

In the west the Honghe (Red River) open its way at the foot of Ailaoshan Mountain. Its valleys are inhabited by Dai peoples, further west there are also some Bai villages.

Due to the difficult communications inside the county and the difficulty of access to the Yi, Hani and Miao areas, the best known minority in Xinping are the Dai. Officially called Huayao Dai (Flowery Dai), this denomination includes at least three branches of the Dai, all them living in the banks of the Red River.

-Dai Ka.

- Dai Zhong.

- Dai Ya

We visited Gasha, the main town in the west of the county. The urban center is populated by Han Chinese and some minority peoples that migrated from their hometown. All around the city lie a succession of almost connected Dai villages, whose inhabitants live in quickly changing villages that retain however some of their traditional characteristics. Around them rice fields and fertile vegetable gardens allow them to preserve a traditional way of live that is made easy thanks to the convenient access to the markets.

Though few women wears nowadays the characteristics dresses that can be seen in the touristic books, most of them still protect themselves from the sun with a conical hat that fills villages, markets and fields with un unique flavor.

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