The mystery of the Lutzus


In the 1918 the book Camps and Trails in China (1) was published, it was authored by Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews. It was a narrative of the travels of the authors in Yunnan in search of little known zoological specimens. It contains also some ethnic depictions of the peoples they met.

"Chapter XXII

Our second camp was on the river at the mouth of a deep valley, near a small village. Wu said that the natives were Lutzus and I was inclined to believe he was right, although Major Davies indicates this region to be inhabited by Lisos. At any rate these people both in physical appearance and dress were quite distinct from the Lisos whom we met later.

They were exceedingly pleasant and friendly and the chief, accompanied by four venerable men, brought a present of rice. I gave him two tins of cigarettes and the natives returned to the village wreathed in smiles.

The garments of the Lutzus were characteristic and quite unlike those of the Mosos, Lisos or Tibetans. The women wore a long coat or jacket of blue cloth, trousers, and a very full pleated skirt. The men were dressed in plum colored coats and trousers."

Some readers find difficult to know to which National minority belong the so called Lutzus by Chapman Andrews.

We find the answer in "An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China" (2)

"The Lusu (Lu-tzus), a subgroup of the Lisu people of Yunnan Province... are found primarily... between the Salween and Mekong rivers in western Yunnan Province- Their language is not mutually intelligible with most of the other Lisu tongues, but it is closely related to Akha, Lahu, and Yi. Lusus are more likely to identify themselves as ethnic Lusus than Lisus. Their social system revolves around a variety of patrilineal, exogamous clans which exercise great political power."

(1) Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews.- Camps and Trails in China: A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in Little-Known China. 1918

(2) Olson, James S..- Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China. Greenwood Press, Westport, 1998

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