Introducing the Jino


The Jino are one of the less numerous of the recognized minorities in China and the last one included as "national minority" because they were only recognized in 1979. Their name means in their language: "Descending from the uncle" what shows that the Jino lived in a matriarchal society until recent times, in which the maternal uncle's authority was the most important in the family.

The Jino have a population of 20.900 people according to the census of the year 2000.

Most of the Jino concentrate in the Jinoshan Mountain, in a series of mild hills with wet climate near Mengyang Township in Jinghong Municipality, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province. They live in an area of about 70x50 km. They live in subtropical rainforest, home of elephants, wild oxen and monkeys. That not means that wild elephants are roaming between Jino villages, but some kilometers away is the biggest elephants reserve in China.

Most of the cultural characteristics of the Jino are disappearing quickly. Now they only wear their elaborated dress on their main festivals. Some projects aimed to generate a cultural revitalization with the tourism have failed.

It is considered that the Jino have three branches: Wuyou, Axi and Aha.

They were separated in these three branches many centuries ago, before the migrations that took them to their present home started. Each one of these branches still reveres a female ancestor, to whom they worship in the most important festivities.

The Wuyou Branch, who inhabit Lewang and Jino Township.

The Axi Branch, who live in Jinoshan Mountain.

The Aha Branch, living also in Jinoshan Mountain.

Their language belongs to the Tibetan Burmese family, Yi branch. It has two dialects: Youle (Shanmantou) and Buyuan, with big differences, mutually unintelligible for their speakers.

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