Jianchuan County Culture

1. Ancestor of Bai people in Jianchuan

The language of Bai belongs to the Yi branch of Zang-Mian Austronesian of the Chinese-Tibetan Phylum. They have also invented their own written characters based on the Chinese characters. The language contains a large number of Chinese words due to the Bais’ long contact with the Han. Nowadays the Chinese language is the most widely used language among the Bai people.

Ancestors of the Bai nationality lived in Erhai area. Archaeological finds from the Cang’er Site and the Haimenkou Site show that the Erhai area was inhabited as early as the Neolithic Age, and artifacts of that period indicate that the people of the region used stone tools, engaged in farming, livestock.


Although most Bai people adhere to Buddhism, they also have a native religion of Benzhuism: the worship of ngel zex (本主; běnzhǔ), local gods and ancestors. Ngel zex could be any heroes in history, the prince of the Nanzhao regime, a hero of folklore or even a tiger (for instance, Laojun Jingdi 老君景帝 is a tiger).

3.The Costumes of Bai Ethnic Minority

The men and women of Bai Ethnic Minority generally admire white, so they like white clothes. The headgear worn by the Bai girl also has the meaning of “wind and snow”. Because on the headgear of the Bai girl, the hanging tassels represent the wind of Shimonoseki; the beautiful flower decoration is the flower of Shangguan, the white of the top of the hat is the snow of Cangshan, and the shape of the bend is the moon. Therefore, it also formed the appearance of their headdresses now.