The Other Writing of People without a Written Language

上一篇 / 下一篇  2009-05-29 21:18:30 / 个人分类:视觉人类学

Deng Qiyao

Department of Anthropology
Zhongshan University
Guangzhou, China

Translated by Mark Hammons


Our history is woven on a tubular skirt;
those are the characters left behind by our ancestors.

                                                 ──Jingpo proverb


Most history, as we know it, centers around written languages.  Thus, we refer to the period before written languages as "prehistory" and ethnic minorities without written languages as "original people."  While this distinction is ubiquitous in anthropological literature, it begs the questions: Before written language, did people not have history?  And, do ethnic minorities without a written language not create history?

Many ethnic minorities without written languages live in southern China; however, they still have their own cultures and histories.  For thousands of years, other more dominant groups have displaced these ethnic minorities.  Their constant migration and their constriction by larger societies limited their ability to settle in one area.  They could only adapt to local conditions, living within small communities in proximity to other ethnic groups.  To avoid being absorbed by the larger, more powerful societies, they developed an especially strong consciousness of their ethnic identity.

Clothing is a distinct marker that creates boundaries between diverse ethnicities and cultures.  Thus, wherever they went or the number of subgroups they divided into, they maintained a fundamental style. of dress that has hardly changed for hundreds of years.  In recent times the functional use of male clothing to mark ethnic boundaries has weakened by the adoption of mass-produced mainstream clothes.  However, the use of traditional clothing to establish ethnic identity still persists, especially during festivals, ceremonies, birth and burial rites, and other culturally symbolic times when the society comes together.  Then, traditional clothing becomes visual imagery and culturally symbolizes the ethnic group and acquires special meaning.  It establishes societal norms, ethnic identity, and the functions of historical narrative.

Societal norms are created in tangible and intangible ways.  The former usually involves the visible that include the code of attire, transportation, architecture, food, and specific protocol of etiquette and the legal system.  Intangible norms primarily refer to the influence of traditional ideas, collective emotions, and social consciousness and/or subconsciousness that include myths, religion, ethics, aesthetics, and other latent measures or restricting forces.

Whereas rulers and their scholarly scribes write histories during a change of emperor or dynasty, ethnic minorities use an alternative method of recording their history in another linguistic framework.  They construct a people's history that differs from the mainstream, governmental version and also one that differs from the popular history of the main group.  They create an oral, pictorial, and cultural history distinct from histories recorded in written languages.

Minority clothing is a writing form. that establishes ethnic identification and expresses the history of their society.  Through this form. of writing, the minorities recreate their unique cultural time and space.  The issue facing us now is: How do we read this type of "writing?"  How do we understand what is termed "other" culture?

This essay uses Miao women's clothing to "read" some of the narratives that have been "written," the "words" left behind by ancestors and the collective memory of ethnic migration.

The Miao who live on the barren Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau-men, women, young, and old-wear buttonless hand-woven un-dyed linen garments and embroidered capes with back badges (FIGURE 1).  Large embroidered capes, so large that they resemble suits of armor worn by ancient warriors, are worn over their shoulders, while their legs are wrapped in embroidered strips.  Women wear pleated skirts and a conic hair knot above their forehead, thus, they are often referred to as One-Horn Miao.  Calling themselves Hmaob, they came from Weining and other high mountain areas of northwest Guizhou.  Having passed through Zhaotong, Xuanwei, and Qujing from Wumeng Mountain, they moved south along the Wuchi Trail, which dates from the Qin and Han periods (221 BCE-CE 220), to the Hengduan Mountain range in central Yunnan. (See Map #) This ethnic group is not recorded in any mainstream history.  Occasionally a mention occurs in unofficial histories of the extraordinary or in natural science or geography publications by those studying ancient history, but they are described in a mythological way: "North of the black water, in northwest China, people with wings are called Miao."[1] 

The Classic of the Mountains and Seasrecounts the period when the earliest Miao ancestors, the Chi You tribe, were fighting against the Yellow Emperor.  The Chi You are described as "descendants of Shen Nong (God of Agriculture), with bodies of beasts and the language of humans who were fearless and ate pebbles and gravel."[2]

These stories might not have become myths had it not been that the Yellow Emperor, in his attempt to suppress the Miao, as recorded inLv xing吕刑 from theShang shu尚書, forced them into hiding, making it difficult for historians to accurately record their history.[3]  The foregoing descriptions may stem from the fact that in ancient times the Miao wore colorful clothes and animal hides, enormous metal head ornaments and capes that looked like wings.  Unfortunately, the estrangement among ethnic groups at the time discouraged intimate relationships and they only viewed each other from afar.  When one group saw another wearing bizarre clothing, suspicious thoughts were unavoidable, and before long, false rumors were transformed into myths of the supernatural.

Also, the myths developed because the Miao ancestors, having been defeated and scattered in all directions, were not able to sit down and peacefully record their own history through writing the way that the victorious Yellow Emperor and his people could.

Living a migratory life, the Miao used the most convenient possible method to encode their own culture into a cipher that they could carry with them wherever they went.  Consequently, their ancient songs, passed on orally, and the colorful hand-embroidered clothing became their tools for recording history and the fundamental method for passing on their culture.

Later, to understand the ethnic groups under their control, the Chinese emperors issued an order to record and illustrate the local conditions and customs in each area.  Thus, historical pictorial ethnographies such asIllustrations of Tributary Peoples职贡图 provided information about other groups.[4]

Unfortunately, the Miao, along with the Panhu and other ethnic minorities did not have their own written language.  Although later, some Miao who converted to Christianity used a phonetic writing system developed by missionaries, their ancient history and local traditional knowledge relied on oral transmission or was passed on through concrete or symbolic means.

During field research conducted between September and November 1989 in Ganhaizi Miao Village and Shuijingwan Miao Village, which had been settled for many generations, I discussed the Miao "ancestral home and history" with the village headman.  An elder pointed to a piece of woman's clothing and said, "Our history, the experiences of our ancient ancestors, were all recorded by our forebears on this."  He patiently explained the meaning of the "words" on the woman's clothing.  The embroidered cape, which looked like a warrior's suit of armor, was made from two pieces of thickly woven wool sewn together on one corner so it could drape over the shoulders like the armor of a Miao chieftain.  In the Miao language, this is calledchuosu, referencing the capital of the Miao people (420).

"Thousands of years ago, the Yellow River area was Miao territory.  Our ancestor was Gechiyelao. Geis a respectful form. of address andyelaomeans village elder or chief.  Together it means "Respected Chi You Village Elder."  Geyeyelao and Gansaomaobi constructed a large and beautiful capital city in the north.  Later, your Han ancestors came and stole the land.  Three Han leaders planned to occupy the Miao capital, but fearful of the strength of the Miao, they devised a way of destroying the city.  These leaders sent people in disguise into the city.  When the Miao saw peddlers entering the city selling needles and thread, they asked their leader, ‘Why are so many people coming to sell needles and thread?'  Their leader responded, ‘A city is not a city if it has no one selling needles and thread.'  Also, many beggars entered the city to beg for rice.  When the people reported this to their leader, he said, ‘It is not strange for beggars to enter the city and beg for rice.  If you have rice, give them a little.'  As arranged by the Han leaders, the attack on the city began from the outside.  The peddlers and beggars who were hiding inside came out and began killing the Miao.  Many blamed their leader, ‘We told you, but you wouldn't listen.  The enemy was the beggars and those who sold needles and thread.'  The Miao leader admitted, ‘It's over,' and prepared to lead his people away.

"The Han divided their forces into four units and surrounded the Miao capital, but the Miao leader ordered his people to erect a wooden post in the center of the city from which they hung a sheep on one side and a goat on the other.  Two bronze drums and a bowl of food were placed in the middle.  As the goat and sheep fought for the food, the kicking of their feet on the bronze drums made a loud thumping noise.  The enemy troops, thinking the Miao forces were waiting in the center of the city, concentrated their forces and surrounded that area.  With the enemy's focus diverted, the Miao leader positioned a garrison to act as a shield so his people could escape at the back of the city.  The fleeing Miao gathered on Hudie (Butterfly) Mountain where they gathered wild grasses and herbs to eat.  As their food diminished, they realized they must move on.  As they prepared to leave, they assembled on the peak of Butterfly Mountain and looked longingly from afar at their former home.  ‘Our home is inside the square city walls, but now it does not belong to us anymore.'  Finding departure unbearable, the women cried, but as there was no way to stay on the mountain any longer, they had to leave.  Thus, to remember their home in their hearts, they embroidered it and wore it on their bodies.  The entire tribe took it with them.  The front of the cape represents the city gate; the shoulder design, the Miao camp.   The ends of the cape are calledgaoand the decorative patterns arelulao.  They represent the old capital city with its streets.  The Miao sayamiaolailaowhich means, ‘the Miao wear the whole city.'  They carry their old city on their shoulders and remember it in their hearts (409, 420, 423).

"The pleated white skirts are calleddiansa(421); the blue skirt,dianzha; the wax-resist dyed skirt used for formal wear isdianlao(FIGURE 2); and the folded tie-dyed skirt is calleddiandai.  The design element of the patterns on the pleated skirts are most commonly ‘X' shape, with an inverted ‘T' and upright ‘T' in the middle representing mountains and rivers.  Empty spaces are filled with diamond and floral patterns representing five grains.  Three alternating red and yellow parallel stripes of decorative fabric traverse the waist.  Calledshanglangandxialang, the top one represents the Yellow River and the bottom one, the Yangtze (FIGURE 3).  In the middle a disconnected piece of cloth, calledbudian, represents the irrigation canal.  Another interpretation indicates that one of the stripes is the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.  The square red and yellow strip at the corner is wax-resist and represents the city wall.

"The leg wrappings,chaolao, approximately two meters long and twenty centimeters wide, are black ground with one white band and two red and yellow bands.  The leg wrappings commemorate the day the capital was transferred to the south of the Yangtze. 

When the Miao fled to the Central Plains in defeat, they fought bravely all along the way, so that their leg wrappings were soaked with blood.  Later, leg wrappings were made to commemorate this flight.

"Upon crossing the Yellow River many could not go further; they then settled in Hubei and Hunan to become Han people.  Today they are called ‘Han Miao.'  A small group of diehard people (some say there were twelve couples) fled to Guizhou and Yunnan.

"According to stories told by the elderly, after leaving their capital, the Miao swam through water for a day and night and then walked on dry land for a day and night; then they swam for two days and two nights and walked for two days and two nights; then they swam for three days and three nights and walked for three days and three nights.  Finally they swam for five days and nights and walked for five days and five nights before reaching their destination.  As they passed through the deep water, the women, worried their precious corn would become moldy, wound it in their hair atop their head.  So, until today, these Miao women, wind their hair in a horn high on the top of their head."[5](FIGURE 4)

Miao women in Wuding County, Yunnan wear a triangular copper crown reminiscent of a royal crown.  Round, patterned copper pieces are affixed to a black headband or wool hat.  Knitting wool or colored tassels hang behind, winding from the front to back forming a semicircular shape.  The crown relates to their ancient war with the Han.

"The Miao are able hunters, so skillful with a crossbow even the most ferocious animal cannot withstand their arrows, but that is because the arrow tips are coated with poison.

"The Han sent people to the Miao to study the crossbow and the Miao taught them nine methods of shooting.  However, they didn't teach them how to apply poison.  Consequently, when the Han struck and wounded the Miao, the Miao did not die.

"The Miao celebrate the eve of the New Year on the 30thday of the 11thlunar month, whereas, the Han celebrate it on the eve of the 12thlunar month.  Thus, the Han chose to attack as the Miao had their guard down during the celebration of New Year's Eve.  Nevertheless, the Miao fought bravely and won the battle.  After beating back the enemy, they celebrated their victory and the New Year in peace.  They brought wine and drank until they were scattered on the ground.  Only one person remained cautious and did not get drunk.  He cut down alaishalaotree, covered it with the bark ofhuanxiangpi, and made alusheng(reed pipes).  Outside the city walls he nimbly played the pipes and danced.

"When the Miao were all drunk, the enemies outside the city intended to seize the chance to attack again.  However, upon seeing the man dancing so lively and agilely they backed off.

"Finally, the dancing man became tired and fell asleep.  When the enemies returned and didn't see the dancing musician, they went to the city entrance and saw man after man lying drunk on the ground.  They rushed into the city, chopping and killing the Miao.  Some awoke from sleep and wanted to flee, but the city gate was blocked.  In their dilemma they heard someone outside playing the pipes and telling them to climb out on a large green vine on the city walls.  Those who found the vine hastily escaped.  To this day, the Miao commemorate this escape as they gather and dance to the sound of thelusheng.

"As the Miao king attempted to escape, Han troops pursued him gathering in greater and greater numbers.  To foil his escape the Miao queen grabbed his crown.  Wearing it on her own head, she fled in a different direction with the enemy troops in pursuit.  Thus, the king escaped.  Thereafter, women could wear the king's crown in remembrance of the Miao queen who gave her life for the king.  Thegaofuis said to look like the king's crown and is a symbol of the Miao capital city.  When a married woman returns home with her first child, she is given thegaofuto wear. Then the crown is passed on to her sister and to generation after generation."[6]

Local tradition indicates that nine pieces of copper, representing nine Li (Jiu Li) 九黎, are sewn on the crown (FIGURE 5).[7]  Eighty-one teeth frame. the textured edge of the copper pieces and symbolize Chi You's eighty-one brothers.

Numerous symbols on Miao clothing embody the city walls, mountains, rivers, irrigation canals, and the five grains.  What messages are they intended to pass on to later generations?  What events do they describe?  Are they related to the nine Li and three Miao (San Miao)[8]from ancient times?  Do they recount the difficult migration endured by the Miao?

The narrations of this story and an ancient Miao song, orally passed through generations, reinforce each other.

North Yunnan, southeast Yunnan and west Guizhou,
In all nations on the nine continents
There isLuolangzhoudi,
Our ancestors live there.

Within the nations on the nine continents
Gandangdiyipeng and Duonayimu are the base of Miao territory. 
Where are these places?
They are on the Zhimilidi plains.

Later, Qiyeyaozhilaocai
Came from Semifudi
Occupying the place where our forefathers lived
Geyeyelao, Gechiyelao, and Gansaomaobi were all sad.

They felt pity for these plains,
Because it is a good place.
They only turned the homeland into a long gown,
And then took the clothing and gave it to young women to wear

And the women donned all the clothing
For the elderly people to see.
They wore the clothing for all to see
The decorative patterns were ofLuolangzhoudi.

The lines on the apron were the flowing Yangtze and Yellow rivers.
They remembered the buildings they used to live in,
And they turned these scenes into capes,
And they gave these capes to young men to wear,

And the young men wore the capes for the old people to see,
They wore the capes for all to see.
They looked at the reclaimed farmland,
And they embroidered the scenes on their aprons,

They gave those aprons to the women to wear
And the women turned round and round
To let the old people see
They turned round and round to let everyone see

They let everyone see those areas of reclaimed land
They let everyone see those rebuilt homes
They took these as a permanent commemoration
Explaining the journey that the Miao had once been through.

Record of the Historian史記、,The Imperial Readingsof the Taiping Era太平御览, and other ancient histories record the war between the Yellow Emperor and Chi You.  The Chi You people were brave and strong and had superior equipment.  They invented the crossbow and armor and they ate unusual provisions, even eating gravel.  The Yellow Emperor fought nine battles but could not win.  In the end he relied onzhinanche指南车,, shamanistic power for victory.

Miao clothing has chronicled even more recent historical events-those who rose up in revolt and are described as "rioters" in history books are celebrated as national heroes by the Miao in southeast Guizhou. Their stories are embroidered on the sleeves of Miao clothing and are carried close to the body generation after generation.  The embroidered sleeve patch depicts a legendary Miao heroine, Wu Moxi from Shidong, Guizhou, who is often seen standing on a horse holding a pike (89).  Another famous embroidered figure is Zhang Xiumei (1823-1872), who led a long and brutal rebellion in 1855 against the Qing rulers.

Life or Death Symbols

The gap in time and variation in clothing is almost imperceptible when comparing drawings in theIllustrations of Tributary Peoples皇清職貢圖from the Qing Dynasty'sMiao Album百苗圖[10]with 19thand 20thcentury photographs and modern Miao clothing (FIGURES 6, 7).  In today's world of fast-changing fashion, this is rather amazing.  Thus, I suddenly realized that for Miao clothing, "time" is not measured in a year's season, but rather by hundreds or thousands of years!  What could cause the Miao never to change their clothing style. over hundreds and thousands of years?

Elders from various ethnic minorities told me, "If you don't wear these clothes, you are not a part of our people.  When a child is born, if they aren't quickly wrapped in the clothing of the group, the baby will be claimed by the devil.  When someone dies, if they are not wearing the clothing of the group, the ancestors will not recognize them."

The Miao use simple language to discuss "identification"-ethnic identification, identity identification, and belief identification.

Where do people come from?  Those of different skin color and ethnicities have different views.  Many say that humans are gifts from deities or ancient spirits, or are from another world.  So, from the third to ninth days of the first lunar month, the Miao celebrate the Flower Mountain Dance Festival踩花山to pray for fertility.  Young men and women gather to sing romantic folk songs.  Playing thelusheng, the men dance around a dragon pole upon which a red cloth about ten meters long is placed beneath a black cloth hung on both sides of the pole.  Later, a bed is made from the dragon pole and large pieces of bamboo, and the red cloth is used for clothing.  The Miao believe this festival will readily enable them to have children.[11]

Upon offering the dowry, willing young Miao who seek a marriage partner can get married.  If after several years there is no offspring, divine assistance is sought and the couple is allowed to dance again at the Flower Mountain Dance Festival.  Dancing must be continued for three years-three days the first year, five days the second, and seven days the third year.  There is no limit to the number of days for those coming from afar and the host must receive them.

It is said that the dragon poles emit spiritual influence and the fertility of young people is mutually influenced.  Believing that "similar begets similar," the use of objects and clothing made from the potently charged dragon pole will help infertile husbands and wives regain their reproductive vitality.[12]

Before children are born, mothers and grandmothers sew the symbols of the group's collective consciousness and traditional concepts onto the infant's clothing.  Most of the images involve the earliest beliefs of the Miao ancestors, primary among them, that the Butterfly Mother gave birth to all living things.  Thus, children's clothing, hats, and baby carriers contain embroidered butterflies.

An old silversmith from Leishanxijiang, Guizhou, said the designs on Miao silver horns must have dragon motifs (68), "This is to commemorate our ancestor Chi You, and it is essential."  Dragons indicate direct descent from the Miao ancestors.

The Miao and Hani ethnic minorities use fabric and old clothes worn by the elderly and their ancestors to make baby clothing and, thus, assure to "pass on their energy."

After being born to this earth, one is no longer a "natural" person.  When children are born, nearly all ethnic groups symbolically and quickly dispose of the afterbirth.  As soon as the baby leaves the mother's womb, the child is wrapped in special clothing.  Different types of clothing have different cultural implications.  They influence a person's fate and the type of social being he/she will be.

The dragon pattern frequently seen on Miao clothing in Guizhou (92, 93, 94, 95) contains explicit reproductive imagery.  Sometimes the dragons form. pairs; some are shown mating.  Pregnancy is expressed as buds growing from the dragon's body or as flowers, fruit, eggs of fish, and shrimp in flourishing reproduction.  A Miao folk song says, "children and grandchildren are like fish and shrimp, the population grows and grows."

The ox-horn dragon is not only agricultural imagery.  It symbolizes the strength and endurance of the male reproductive organ.  The Miao in Danzhai often hang ox horns over the entrance to their homes to signify a growing family.  Likewise, the dragon is often depicted with flowers and fruit, especially the pomegranate and bottle gourd, all images of abundant reproduction.

With countless fertility rituals and expressions of worship focused on reproduction, the Miao see the birth of children as reincarnation or transmigration from another world to this one, with the mother's womb as a relay station.  Thus, the mother facilitates the passage between the two worlds and through "culture" the process is endowed with many mysterious, non-physiological factors.  The baby, coming from the other world, traverses both this and the other world and is between the physical and incorporeal.  As the metaphysical energy exists, the newborn, having freshly crossed the threshold, with a little incaution, may return to the world where it comes from.

To protect the child, parents in many ethnic groups do all they can, including using clothing, to achieve a mystical effect upon the baby.  The Miao fastening rope is called "tying up life."  After shaving off the baby's fetal hair, the mother's brother dresses the baby in special clothing and seven colored threads of knitting wool are made into a thin rope that is placed on the child's neck.  The uncle ties the rope into two knots while saying, "gold and silver thread ties your life, ties you, and allows you to live until old age."  In another area, the Miao give the baby strong silver necklaces and wrist and ankle bracelets that seal up the frailest part of the body to prevent the baby's soul from escaping to the other world.

Most folk beliefs say that life and death, the continuation and transmutation between theyang(this) world and theyin(nether) world, is a mysterious transformational process (506, 507).  If everything is handled appropriately, during this important life process, the soul of the dead can be placated so that it smoothly changes and enters the "other world" and, at the same time, protects the living, shielding subsequent generations.  If this is not done correctly, the soul of the dead cannot reach its destination and will become a wandering spirit (wild ghost), throwing into disorder the arrangement between this and the underworld.  Disasters will occur frequently and the population will not multiply.

The Wa ethnic minority in Yunnan has a saying, "You can negotiate with a mountain of people, but you cannot communicate with a dead person."  So a funeral has become one of the most important and solemn of all human ceremonies for every ethnic group.  There are many rites and taboos, but they all proceed from a common mentality-a kind of reverence for the unknowable other world and the soul of the dead.

Since ancient times customs have governed the use of clothing.  What different people wear and how they wear it reflects special cultural patterns and standards for different roles in society.  People of diverse ethnic identity wear different clothes in specific ways to achieve identification with their role and with their culture.



Obviously, in eras and among people without a written language, the spoken language, actions, and pictures become the primary vehicle through which information is transmitted.  The fundamental content of a group's invisible cultural heritage is created and transmitted in myths, legends, epics, ancient ballads and folk songs, proverbs, symbolic objects, images, and ceremonies.  In the past, oral history and narrative pictures were methods of recording history and passing on knowledge.  For people without a written language, they are still used for the same reasons and they maintain a special cultural function.

The cultural dynamics of ethnic clothing includes a protective function necessary for survival, an adaptability function that allows the wearer to conform. to the natural environment, a differentiation function that defines the role of the wearer in society, a normative function that ensures that members abide by the decorum of normal human relationships (as defined by Confucianism), a magical function that conducts interaction with the gods of heaven and earth, an explanatory function that records historical events and ancient regulations, and an aesthetic function that beautifies the body and life.  This is an unusual kind of communication method, so our previous concepts of the singularity of writing with pen and ink must be discarded.  Cultural diversity must include the diversity of writing and communication systems.  Oral history, characters, and pictures are all cultural writing or ways of "writing culture."  Each method has its strong points and complements the others.

Many ethnic minorities without a written language have a special narrative tradition.  They use oral history, mythology, epics, folk songs, and visual arts and crafts to transmit and pass on their culture.  They write with thread.  Thread is their ink to write the myths, history, and all they wish to record, projecting it on the clothes that accompany them, forming a cultural code.  The myths and legends of each ethnic group can be seen in the styles, colors, dyeing, and embroidered patterns on their ethnic clothing.  Their clothing is a pictographic account of "Historical Records" of the other.

In human ritual, ethnic clothing is a symbol used at birth, coming-of-age, courtship, marriage, and death.  It is a symbol of promise to family, clan, blood kin, and society.  Ethnic clothing and the code of attire are integrally connected to a society's structure, role identification, culture identification, and social norms.  It relates to shamanism, religion, taboos, fate, the soul and supernatural beings, and other modes of traditional cultural consciousness (506, 507).  The artistry and transmission of ethnic clothing provide vital information for researchers of non-material cultural heritage.


[1]"Da huang bei jing"  [Classic of the Great Northern Wilderness], 436.

[2]"Long yu he tu" [Primeval Legends and Mythologies], 368.

[3]"Lv xing" [On Punishment and Justice], 247.

[4]See Yang and Pan, eds.,Baimiaotu chaoben huibian[A Compendium of Miao Albums].

[5]Interviews with Zhang Wenzhi of Yizidian Village, Juichang Township; Zhu Xianrong of the Cultural Center, Wuding County; and Long Shugang of Shuijingwan Village, Caopu Township, Anning City, Yunnan.  I integrated my research of 1989 with research conducted in Kunming suburb (1983), Wuding County (1987), and Wenshan Miao Autonomous Prefecture (2002).  Part of my research was published asMinzu fushi[Ethnic Costumes], 277-84, which I revised while writing this essay.

[6]See n 5.

[7]Nowadays, this number is not strictly kept.

[8]According to legend, during primeval times,Jiu Liwas a coalition of  nine non-Han tribes who were considered the first agriculturalists.  They lived along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. San Miaowere the descendants ofJiu Li.

[9]Xia, ed.,Miaozu guge  [Ancient Miao Poems], 47-49.

[10]Yang and Pan, 76.

[11]Song, "Yunnan Miaozu zongjiao gaikuang" [Religious Practices of the Yunnan Miao], 671.

[12]Frazer,Golden Bough[Jinzhi], 19-20.

【说明】本文是我在美国夏威夷大学关于少数民族服饰的一次研讨会上提交的论文,今年刚刚出版,自:The Other Writing of People without a Written Language,Writing with Thread, University ofHawai’I Art Gallery, 2009.中文版和图随后。


TAG: language Language People the THE The without Writing





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