Jingpo Ethnic Minority
Jingpo ethnic group, one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, has its own language and script. The language belongs to Tibeto-burman language family of Sino-Tibetan language family. The written language of Jingpo is alphabetic writing based on the Latin alphabet. After 1949, with the help of the government, the Jingpo people have started publishing newspapers, periodicals and books in their own language.
History of Jingpo Ethnic Minority
According to local legends and historical records, ancient Jingpo ancestors lived in the southern part of the Xikang-Tibetan Plateau. They gradually moved south to northwest Yunnan, west of the Nujiang river. The local people including Jingpo ancestors were called “Xunchuanman(寻传蛮)”, mainly living on hunting. During the Yuan dynasty, the imperial court established province in Yunnan, also administered Sichuan area. With the development of production, various Jingpo ethnic groups gradually merged into two major tribal alliances- Chashan and Lima. They were led by hereditary noble “Shanguan”. Free men and slaves made up the other two classes. Slaves were deprived of their personal freedom and forced to work.
In the early 15th century, the Ming dynasty established the system of local hereditary chiefs in the minority areas, established two local administrations, and appointed the Jingpo nobles as the chief administrators. In the Qing dynasty, Jingpo lived in areas under the jurisdiction of county offices set up by the Qing court. From the 16th century, a large number of Jingpo immigrants moved to Dehong. Under the influence of the Han and Dai ethnic groups with advanced production technologies and a feudal economy, the Jingpo people began to use iron tools, including plows, and later learned to grow rice in the rice fields. This learning process is accompanied by the improvement of productivity and the transition to feudalism. The slaves resisted or fled. All these factors led to the swift end of slavery in the middle of the last century.
The origin of Jingpo ethnic minority is related to the ancient Diqiang people on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. There are five branches of Jingpo ethnic group, namely, Jingpo, Zaiwa(载瓦), Lechi(勒赤), Lang E(浪峨) and Bola(波拉). Jingpo people live mainly in the mountainous area of Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture of Yunnan province, and a few live in the border area of Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture and Kachin state of Myanmar.
Culture Heritages of Jingpo Ethnic Minority
- Munao Zaiwa- Epic of Jingpo Minority
- Hulusi ( Cucurbit Flute)
- Sword Dance of Jingpo Minority
- Sword Playing (Shuadao) of Jingpo minority
Jingpo people have created a rich and colorful folk music in their long life and production. Each branch of Jingpo people has a variety of folk songs, such as husking rice tunes, mountain songs, historical songs, lullabies, custom songs and love songs. Jingpo folk songs have a wide range of contents, including the narration of ethnic history, ancient legends and stories, the praise of real life and festival harvest celebrations, as well as the persistent pursuit of love.
The dances of Jingpo ethnic minority are mostly group dancing, which reflect the activities such as production, life, war and sacrifice. They are mainly divided into three types, celebration, sacrifice and entertainment, including “Zongge(纵歌)”, “Bugunge(布滚歌)”, “Longdongge(龙洞歌)”, “Zhengge(整歌)” and the like. Among them, Zongge includes a variety of dance forms, arranged in a phalanx, orderly dance steps, bright rhythm, showing the stature of the group dance. The instruments used are mainly wooden drum, elephant foot drum, Man gong(芒锣), bamboo wind instrument and so on.
Art and Craft
In the art of Jingpo ethnic minority, weaving has distinct ethnic characteristics. The weaving tools are very simple, but it can weave more than 300 colorful and beautiful patterns. Most of the paintings are combined with primitive religions. There are simple circular carving and bamboo wood carving as well.
Festivals of Jingpo Ethnic Minority
Ethnic traditional festivals of Jingpo ethnic minority mainly include Munaozongge festival, Nengxian festival(能仙节), new rice festival and the like, among which Munaozongge festival is the grandest one.
- New Rice Festival (Xinmijie)
- Girls’ Festival (Guniangjie/Nengxianjie)
- Munaozongge Festival of Jingpo Minority