Bai Ethnic Minority

Bai ethnic minority is introduced from the history, cultural heritages and ethnic festivals. Bai ethnic group is the 15th largest ethnic group in China, mainly distributed in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and other provinces, among them, Bai minority in Yunnan province has the largest population, mainly living in Dali Bai autonomous prefecture. Bai minority has its own ethnic language, which belongs to the Tibetan-Myanmese roup of the Chinese-Tibetan language family. The Chinese character has been used by the Bai people since ancient times. 

Features of Bai Area in Yunnan

Situated on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the Bai area is crisscrossed with rivers, of which the major ones are the Lancang, the Nujiang and the Jinsha. The river valleys, dense forests and vast tracts of land form a beautiful landscape and provide an abundance of crops and fruits. The Bai area around Erhai lake in Dali Bai autonomous prefecture is blessed with a mild climate and fertile land yielding two crops a year. Here, the main crops are rice, winter wheat, beans, millet, cotton, rape, sugar-cane and tobacco. The forests have valuable stocks of timber, herbs of medicinal value and rare animals. Cangshan Mountain beside Lake Erhai contains a rich deposit of the famous Yunnan marble, which is basically pure white with veins of red, light blue, green and milky yellow. It is treasured as building material as well as for carving.

History of Bai Ethnic Minority

The origin of Bai has the characteristics of diversity. The earliest ancestors of Bai are formed by fusion of indigenious Kunming people and Heman people(河蛮人) by Erhai Lake, as well as Di people(氐人) and Qiang people(羌人) from Qinghai-Tibet plateau, and then infusing Sou people(叟人), Ailao people, Dian people(滇人), Han people and other ethnic groups. In thousands of years of history, due to the war, expansion, trade, station troops and other historical reasons, Bai people gradually formed the embryonic form of the current Bai minority. After the Yuan dynasty, people whose cultural attributes were more similar to those of the Han nationality were identified as an ethnic group and called “Bai people(白人)”. “Bai people” is the earliest unified race of Bai ancestors. They are called “Minjia” after Ming and Qing dynasties. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in November 1956, according to the will of the majority of the Bai people, the Bai minority was officially defined as the unified name.

Distribution of Bai Minority

Bai ethnic minority is mainly distributed in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. Dali is the origin, ancestral home and main settlement of the Bai minority, about 80% of Bai inhabit here. In addition, Kunming, Lijiang, Nujiang, Diqing, Baoshan, Yuxi, Chuxiong, Wenshan, Lincang and other places have Bai minority as well. Zhangjiajie and Xiangxi of Hunan, Bijie and Anshun of Guizhou, Liangshan of Sichuan also have the distribution of Bai minority.

Bai Ethnic Townships

Cultural Heritages of Bai Ethnic Minority

Bai minority is unique in art, its architecture, sculpture and painting art enjoys a high reputation. In the process of formation and development, with the surrounding ethnic mutual exchanges, Bai people created a brilliant economic culture. The Bai minority is divided into three branches, namely Minjia, Lemo and Nama, and they are deeply influenced by Han culture. 


Protection Area

Festivals and Activities of Bai Ethnic Minority

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