The Jingpo Nationality in 1895


As described by George Ernest Morrison(1).

The Kachin men we met were all armed with the formidable dah or native sword, whose widened blade they protect in a univalvular sheath of wood. They wore Shan jackets and dark knickerbockers; their hair was gathered under a turban. They all carried the characteristic embroidered Kachin bag over the left shoulder.

The Kachin women are as stunted as the Japanese, and are disfigured with the same disproportionate shortness of legs. They wear Shan jackets and petticoats of dark-blue; their ornaments are chiefly cowries; their legs are bare. Unmarried, they wear no head-dress, but have their hair cut in a black mop with a deep fringe to the eyebrows. If married, their headdress is the same as that of the Shan women--a huge dark-blue conical turban. Morality among the Kachin maidens, a missionary tells me, is not, as we understand the term believed to exist. There is a tradition in the neighbourhood concerning a virtuous maiden; but little reliance can be placed on such legendary tales.

Among the Kachins each clan is ruled by a Sawbwa, whose office "is hereditary, not to the eldest son, but to the youngest, or, failing sons, to the youngest surviving brother." (Anderson.) All Kachins chew betel-nut and nearly all smoke opium--men, women and children. Goitre is very prevalent among them; in some villages Major Couchman believes that as many as 25 per cent, of the inhabitants are afflicted with the disease. They have no written language, but their spoken language has been romanised by the American missionaries in Burma.

Geaorges Ernest Morrison.- An Australian in China - Being the narrative of a Quiet Journey Across China to Burma. 1895

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