Culture of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture

The original inhabitants of Dehong plain are mainly Dai ethnic minority, an ethnic minority with a long history and civilization. The men are gentle and kind, and the women are elegant and hardworking. The mountainous residents are mainly Jingpo people. This is a minority that migrated from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in ancient times. They are brave and unrestrained. Here, travelers can dance with the elegant ethnic girls and play the drum with the strong boys. Dancing peacocks and beautiful songs will gain your attentions.

Dai, Jingpo, Lisu, Achang and De’ang live here generation by generation. These ethnic minority live cross border. They keep the trade contacts and cultural exchanges.

Festivals

1.The Water-splashing Festival is the traditional festival of Dai and De’ang nationalities, held on the New Year’s Day in Dai Calendar in middle of April.

2.Munaozongge is the traditional festival of Jingpo Nationality. It used to be held during sacrifice offering and ceremony on 15th of the first month of each year.

3.The Kuoshi Festival is also called the New Year Celebrating Festival. It is a grand event of Lisu people, who, during the festival, male and female, old and young, dance and singing hand in hand for the whole night around a bonfire.

4.Aluwoluo Festival is the most important festival of Achang ethnic minority, deriving from ancient religious ceremony.

Religion
Hinayana Buddhism is the major religion in Dehong. Dai and De’ang ethnic minorities believe in it. The pagodas and Zhuangfang (temple in Dai villages) are built in every Dai villages, which are the typical architectures in Dehong. The representative architectures is the Menghuan Grand Golden Pagoda. Most of villages will pray in Zhuangfang and pagodas in certain time.

Jingpo people worship nature and their ancestors, which can be seen in their sacrifice ceremony.

Custom

Dai and Jingpo ethnic minorities are the major ones here.

At first, Dai ethnic minority live in the plain and they do well in agriculture. They like living in group and teamwork. They respect the old and cherish the young and help each other. In daily life, they are good at handicraft, like bamboo weaving and brocade. Dai ethnic minority favors dancing and singing which is necessary in ceremony, labor work and festivals.

Jingpo ethnic minority live among the mountain, so they have good hunting skill. The sword is taken with the men all the time. Brocade and embroidery are the necessary skill of Jingpo girls. All of their dress are made by themselves. The colorful and unique dresses are their best work. They worship the nature and their ethnic hero. The goup dancing in Munaozongge Festival represents Jingpo’s enthusiasm and solidarity.

Costume

Dai people:the traditional men clothes include open-front coat with tight sleeves and no collar, long loose trousers, and a pink, green or white turbans. In addition, Dai men carry satchels at their sides and carry swords at the girdle.Women clothes include open-front coat with tight sleeves and loop laps and sarong. Their waistbands are usually silver ones.
Jingpo people:there are daily costume, festival costume and ritual costume. Women’ daily costume consists of a collarless blouse, colorful skirts, bags, earrings etc., and men’ s daily costume consist of white or blue-purple cloth turbans, round-collar shirts, short black trousers, bags and swords. They will add more decoration and accessory to the festival and ritual costume.

Over 20 minorities live in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, including Dai, Jingpo, Achang, Lisu and De’ang ethnic groups. There are colorful cultural events with ethnic characteristics, including the world’s largest ethnic mass dance, Munao Zongge. As the cradle of the Dai ethnic group, the prefecture still well keeps Nandian Propitiatory Commissioner’s Office Building, the “Dai palace.” Here is full of deep pauk-phaw (brotherhood) between the people of China and Myanmar, colorful cultures of ethnic groups, unique religion and beautiful landscape.

In times past, Dehong was an important place along the ancient Silk Road. Today, it is a key part of the Yunnan-Burma Road and is home to a number of vivid cultural products. Dehong’s two ports of Ruili and Wanding play an important role in connecting China and the other countries in Asia.

Falling in line with the country’s Belt and Road Initiatives, Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture have constructed a comprehensive cultural industry, which comprises of the jewelry cultural industry, rosewood cultural industry, folk crafts industry and folk entertainment industry.

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Jade carving art work (Photo from chinadaily.com.cn)

Jewelry cultural industry

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Emerald necklace art work (Photo from chinadaily.com.cn) 

Dehong is located at the intersection of the world’s two biggest gem mineralized tectonic belts and is close to the gem-rich country of Burma. Yunnan also has a long tradition of jewelry trade and cultural exchanges with Burma, resulting in a prominent advantage in raw materials imports. Yunnan currently sits at the frontier of the jewelry industry.

In recent years, Dehong jewelry culture industry has formed a complete industrial chain including the import of raw materials, production, research and design. More than 8,000 jewelers from different places have gathered in Yunnan province. Some local brands such as Wang Chaoyang and Dong Yuchun have become well-known brands in jewelry industry.

Rosewood cultural industry

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Rosewood boutique (Photo from chinadaily.com.cn)

Thanks to Dehong’s unique geographical advantage, it has become the rosewood resource center of Southeast and South Asia. With the country’s rapid economic development, Dehong’s rosewood furniture industry has also developed rapidly in the last 10 years.

According to statistics, there are more than 410 enterprises-including more than 70 mid-sized enterprises-carrying out rosewood production, processing and marketing businesses in Dehong. The number of employees in Dehong’s rosewood industry amounts to almost 20,000, including designers and carvers.

Cucurbit flute cultural industry

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Finished rosewood cucurbit flutes (Photo from chinadaily.com.cn)

As curcubit flute music from musician Gen Dequan has been widely spread at home and abroad, Dehong has gradually formed a complete cucurbit flute cultural industrial chain.

As a traditional instrument of Dai, Achang and De’ang ethnicities, the history of the cucurbit flute dates back to the pre-Qin era (the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, 770-221 BC).

The Lianghe cucurbit flute has been declared as the only national geographical indications instrument in China by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

In times past, Dehong was an important place along the ancient Silk Road. Today, it is a key part of the Yunnan-Burma Road and is home to a number of vivid cultural products. Dehong’s two ports of Ruili and Wanding play an important role in connecting China and the other countries in Asia.

Falling in line with the country’s Belt and Road Initiatives, Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture have constructed a comprehensive cultural industry, which comprises of the jewelry cultural industry, rosewood cultural industry, folk crafts industry and folk entertainment industry.

Husa knife production industry

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Husa knife (photo from chinadaily.com.cn)

The Husa knife originated in the Husa Achang ethnic settlements in Longchuan county and is also referred to as the Achang knife. The Husa knife has been included as a national intangible cultural heritage and is favored by domestic and foreign merchants.

On May 20, 2006, Achang knife forging skills were approved to be included in the first baaatch of national intangible cultural heritage by the State Council. The Achang knife has a long history and was favorable in the early in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). The knife is currently exported to different countries and regions, including Burma.

Ethnic brocade culture

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Brocade from the Dai ethnic group (photo from chinadaily.com.cn)

Dehong has the geographical advantage of being located along the ancient Silk Road. Dai brocade is influenced by Shu brocade in its weaving techniques.

In 2008, the Dai brocade technique was approved by the State Council and included in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage. Dai brocade has a vivid color and evokes a strong visual impact with its bright colors, high purity and high saturation. Its red, yellow and green colors form a sharp contrast with the black and dark red bottom.

Dai brocade industry produces many traditional and modern products, such as Tongpa (bag), skirts and tablecloths.

 

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