Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yi Ethnic Minority in China

Yi Ethnic Minority, Liangshan, Sichuan Province, China
Photography by Geng Yunsheng

postmarked in 2011 with a China 4.50 stamp

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The Yi people are a modern ethnic group in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Numbering 8 million, they are the seventh largest of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. 

The Yi speak Yi, a Tibeto-Burman language closely related to Burmese, which is written in the Yi script.

Most Yi believe they have the same ancestor named Apu Dumu. It is said that Apu Dumu married three wives and had six sons: each of the wives bore two sons. In the legend, the oldest two sons leading their tribes conquered other aborigines of Yunnan and began to reside in most territory of Yunnan. The youngest two sons led their tribes eastwards and were defeated by Han, before finally making western Guizhou their home and creating the largest quantity of Yi script documents. The other two sons led their tribes across Jinsha River and dwelled in Liangshan. 

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