The Miao ethnic people has a population of over 8 million larger than most of other minority groups in China. After immigration throughout history, today they live mainly in Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Hainan Provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture. Such a wide distribution and the influence of different environments have resulted in marked differences in dialects, names and clothes. Based on style and color difference in costumes, the Miao divided into Long Skirt Miao, Short Skirt Miao, Long Horn Miao, Red Miao, Black Miao, Flowery Miao, etc. Here we introduce two types: Long Horn Miao and Short Skirt Miao.
Long Horn Miao
The Long Horn Miao got their name from their special custom of using horn as head decoration. They live in the mountains 2,000 meters above sea level in 12 villages next to each other with a total population of 4,000. In normal days the women simply wrap their hair behind their head around a sharp-ended wooden board. They wear long horns only on holidays and festivals, together with the decorative hair (wig) made of linen, wool and hair. The decorative hair is three meters long and 2 kilograms in weight. They first fix the horn with their real hair and then wrap the “decorative hair” around the wooden frame into the shape of a horizontal “8” and tie it to the horn with a piece of white cord. The heavy ornament places extra strain on their neck and waist, making them walk in a special posture.
Short Skirt Miao
Short Skirt Miao (or Mini Skirt Miao) live in the depths of the southeastern Guizhou Province mountainous regions with the population of 50,000 to 60,000. This region has a pleasant temperate climate all year round. Some live in Langdong, Kongshen, and Konglie villages of Rongjiang County, while others live in the Datang area of Leishan County, and Paidiao area of Danzhai County.
Their daily and festival clothing are both distinct and colorful. The typical costume is a tunic top and mini skirt. The top is decorated with silver ornaments and with gorgeously embroidered patterns of dragon, phoenix, fish, birds and beasts. The minis skirt is hand knitted and is no more than 20 centimeters long.
Previously due to the poor transportation of the remote areas, the Long Horn Miao and Short Skirt Miao have little connection with the outside world and therefore, their culture could be preserved. However, with many highways and roads built in the past ten years in China and increasing number of tourists to these villages, their unique culture and tradition are acing challenges. Meanwhile, with the open to outside world, followed are conflicts between their own ethnics and modern civilizations.
by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com
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