The Zhuang

Name: Zhuang

Population: 17,000,000

Localization: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Yunnan province (Wenshan Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture)


"The Zhuang are a group of peoples concentrated almost exclusively in western Guangxi and eastern Yunnan, with small patches of communities in eastern Guangxi and western Guangdong… The peoples of western Guangxi and eastern Yunnan used a variety of terms to describe themselves, which corresponded to smaller ethnic groups that the government now declares are part of the greater Zhuang nation." (Creating the Zhuang.- Katherine Palmer Kaup, pp. 25-26)

Basic Facts about Zhuang Culture

Academic Materials about the Zhuang

The Zhuang language

Adams Bodomo.- Strategies for the Documentation and Revitalization of the Zhuang Language of Southwestern China

This paper outlines some strategies, methods, and techniques for the documentation and revitalization of Zhuang language and culture through linguistic fieldwork.

Adams Bodomo.- The Grammatical Structure of Zhuang

This book is a descriptive grammar of the Zhuang language spoken mainly in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwestern China. In this introductory chapter we introduce this region, describe the language situation and fieldwork that led to the collection of data for this research, outline the major linguistic features of the language, and finally present a snopsis of the various chapters.

Adams Bodomo.- Field Notes on the Pronominal System of Zhuang

The Guangxi Zhuang linguistic area thus presents a scenario of multilingualism, polyglottism, and, consequently, language contact phenomena such as codemixing and switching, leading to a veritable medley of language influence.

Eric C. Johnson. The Southern Zhuang Languages of Yunnan Province’s Wenshan Prefecture from a Sociolinguistic Perspective

The goal of this paper is to introduce the sociolinguistic situation of the Yunnan Southern Zhuang languages, especially focusing on the current language use situation in rural Southern Zhuang villages, the present vitality of these languages and their prospects for future preservation and development.

Zhuang history

Jeffrey G. Barlow.- Early Weapons Systems and Ethnic Identity in the Sino-Vietnamese Frontier

In this paper I have tried to analyze the early culture of the Zhuang/Nung, and particularly their relationship to the cultures of the Chinese Central Plain, by focusing upon weapons and warfare. I believe that this approach yields useful new information on both the Zhuang/Nung themselves and upon the early cultural processes on either side of today's Sino-Vietnamese frontier.

Fay Beauchamp. Asian Origins of Cinderella: The Zhuang Storyteller of Guangxi. Oral Tradition, 25/2 (2010): 447-496

The acceptance and understanding of the Asian origins of the “Cinderella” story should replace the widely held belief that the story is fundamentally Western or universal. The Zhuang, an ethnic group at the intersection of China and Vietnam, combined ideas from their own traditions and experiences with motifs from Hindu and Buddhist narratives circulating in their area during the Tang Dynasty, and should be credited with creating this subversive, virginal, talented, and compassionate heroine.

Pingwen Huang.- Sinification of the Zhuang people, culture and their language.

Among the nine counties where the Zhuang make up the 90% of the total local population, the Zhuang language is spoken in most occasions, exºcep those that are official in nature.

CHEN Jing, LI Hui, QIN Zhen-Dong, LIU Wen-Hong, LIN Wei-Xiong, YIN Rui-Xing, JIN Li, PAN Shang-Ling.- Y-chromosome Genotyping and Genetic Structure of Zhuang Populations

Frequency distribution and principal component analysis showed that Zhuang was closely related to groups of Bai-Yue origin and therefore was likely to be the descendant of Bai-Yue. The results of principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering analysis contradicted the linguistically derived north-south division. Interestingly, a west-east clinal trend of haplotype frequency changes was observed.

Prasan Kunchornmenakun, Boonsom Yodmalee and Notai Udonboonyanupap.- The Zhuang in the Province of Guangxi, China: Identity Adaptation and cultural identity. The Social Sciences. 2009.

Outside influences have made the Zhuang to adapt, change and improve their technology and local knowledge to keep up with modernization and globalization within the region and to maintain an equilibrium within the Chinese society.

Ya-ning Kao. Chief, God, or National Hero? Representing Nong Zhigao in Chinese Ethnic Minority Society.

The establishment of ceremonies venerating Nong Zhigao in Zhuang society through female oral ritual practice is complementary to the state recognition of local deities in Han society, furthermore, demonstrates, in the case of one female deity, the Empress of Heaven (Tianhou), that the local deity winning state approval might supplant other local deities.

Zhang Hong, Zhang Ling. Protection and Innovation of Intangible Cultural Heritage - Buluotuo Festival

Buluotuo is a fairy tale figure in Zhuang (ethnic minority in south China) aboriginal oral culture. The Buluotuo Culture, the core of which is the Buluotuo Scriptures, was among the first batch to be added to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. It originated in the Tianyang County, Bose, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a remote and impoverished area. The Buluotuo Folk Cultural Festival has been held there annually for the last five years. The organizer holds the festival to help protect the Zhuang ethnic culture and create a regional tourist attraction.

Books and references

Free books about the Zhuang Nationality

- A brocade of the Zhuang nationality:

A Mother weaves a magic brocade cloth for her son which flies away. The son rescues the cloth from fairies in a distant land. They return him home and everyone copies the pattern from the boy's mother.

Eric M. Jackson, Ph.D., Emily H.S. Jackson and Shuh Huey Lau.- A sociolinguistic survey of the Dejing Zhuang sub-dialect area. SIL. 2010

This report presents the results of a dialect intelligibility survey carried out in 2008 in the southwestern part of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China--what Zhang et al (1999) describe as the Dejing sub-dialect area of Southern Zhuang.

Eric C. Johnson and Mingfu Wang. A Sociolinguistic Introduction to the Central Taic Languages of Wenshan Prefecture, China

relatively few works focused on Central Tai languages are available. The aim of this work is to provide sociolinguistic data from the several Central Taic Zhuang languages of Wenshan prefecture, resulting from sociolinguistic field research conducted from 2005 to 2007.

Andy Castro and Bruce Hansen.- Hongshui He Zhuang dialect intelligibility survey. SIL. 2010

The Hongshui He region is home to around 2.5 million Zhuang speakers. In conducting the survey, the primary tools used were Recorded Text Tests and wordlist comparisons. The results of this survey show that Hongshui He Zhuang can be divided into three dialects.

Xiang Rong. Yearning for Zaan or Home: Gender, development and home in Zhuang Women's narratives on Migration on a Southwest Chinese village. Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 2006

Migration is widely practised by the Zhuang, and this migration occurs in myriad and gendered forms. The narratives of women unfold awide range of meanings attached to various forms of migrations.

Bibliographic materials

Basic Bibliography of the Zhuang Nationality

- Holm, David.- Recalling lost souls: The Baeu Rodo Scriptures Tai Cosmogonic Texts from Guangxi in Southern China.

Recalling Lost Souls explores an indigenous scriptural tradition found among the Zhuang. It presents for the first time in English a remarkable collection of ritual texts, recently discovered in the remote highlands of northwestern Guangxi.

Zhuang Folk Tales from Wuming: All these stories are told in a simple style that takes the reader, if not to the Grandfather Knee, as the title states, at least to the sacred hearth of a Zhuang home, around which their everyday life is developed.

Chinese Bibliography of the Zhuang Nationality - Some interesting books about the Zhuang, in Chinese language.

A book about the Mo culture of the Zhuang

Deciphering the culture of the fertility cults: This book is a study of the fertility cults among the Chinese nationalities. Introducing the reader the different manifestations that these cults take shape in the myths, rituals and taboos of the Han Chinese and the national minorities.

The Zhuang in the Art, art of the Zhuang

Photo Exhibitions

Ethnic China photo exhibitions

- A Zhuang Village near Qiubei: In the Zhuang villages of Wenshan Prefecture, the life runs slowly yet. Farmers communities, linked to their land as intimately as in the past centuries, live quite lives far from the hustle and bustle of the centers of touristic development.

More Photo exhibitions



Zhuang nationality music
A guide to download their music

Films and Video

Documentary Films about the Zhuang Nationality
Available dvds and vcds about the Zhuang Nationality
Image of the the Zhuang Nationality in the cinema


The Zhuang Nationality in the art
Art Exhibitions


Travel to Zhuang Nationality lands

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