Introducing the Maonan


The Maonan are one of the less known minorities of China. That is due to two reasons:

They live in the isolated Guizhou Province; and had been surrounded by Han Chinese for centuries.

Their coexistence and intermarriage with the Han and other minorities, as the Zhuang, Miao or Yao, among whom they live, has eliminated many of their differentiating characteristics as an independent ethnic group.

Their population was increased in the last decades.

There were 38,000 Maonan in 1982; 72,000 in 1990, and more than 107,000 in 2000.

They call themselves "Anan" that means: "those that live here".

Most of them (70%) live quite concentrated in the Huanjiang Maonan Autonomous County, situated in the northwest of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In Shangnan, Zhongnan and Xianan Township, locally called Maonan mountain area.

Their habitat is a subtropical area, with soft climate and abundant rains. Their economic life is like the Zhuang and Han people living around them, with rice as their main crop.

Maonan language belongs to the Dong-Shui branch of the Zhuang - Dong group of the Sino - Tibetan linguistic family.

Most of the Maonan are bilingual with the languages of neighboring peoples or with local Chinese dialects.

Back to Maonan main page

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