The Miao nationality 苗族


Chinese Name: 苗族

English Name: The Miao nationality

Languages: Miao language 苗语, Chinese 汉语

Total population: 9.42*106 (China mainland 2022)

Distribution: Mainly distributed in Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi,etc.

The Miao nationality  苗族
The Miao nationality 苗族

Brief introduction

The Miao nationality 苗族, one of the ancient ethnic minorities in China, is mainly distributed in China’s Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Qiong and other provinces. According to historical documents and Miao word-of-mouth information, the Miao ancestors first lived in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River 黄河, and their ancestor was Chiyou 蚩尤. Once migrated to the Jianghan Plain 江汉平原, and then due to wars and other reasons, it gradually migrated south and west, entering the southwestern mountainous area and the Yungui Plateau 云贵高原.

The Miao nationality  苗族

The history of the Miao nationality

The Miao people can be traced back to the Yandi 炎帝 and Huangdi 黄帝 eras five or six thousand years ago. After Yandi and Huangdi jointly defeated Chiyou, some of their ethnic groups migrated south, and the Miao people began a history of hardships and hardships. Up to now, the legend of Chi You is widely circulated among the Miao people, who always believe in Chi You as its first ancestor.

The Miao nationality  苗族
chiyou 蚩尤

The religion of the Miao nationality

The Miao people had their own religious beliefs very early. After a long history of development, the religious beliefs of the Miao people in different regions are different. Due to traffic congestion in some Miao areas, the Miao people believe in primitive religions. Due to the influence of foreign missionaries in modern times, some areas with relatively convenient transportation have converted to Catholicism and Christianity. But in general, the majority of the Miao people still believe in the primitive religions that have been formed for a long time.

The Cultures of the Miao nationality

The costumes of the Miao nationality 苗族的服饰

The Miao costumes are of various styles and bright colours. There are more than 100 styles of Miao women’s clothing, which can be called the most national clothing in China. In the more representative traditional costumes, there are dozens of headdresses only inserted on the bun.

Miao women generally wear short jackets with narrow sleeves, large collars and a pair of fronts on the upper body, and pleated skirts on the lower body. The dresses may be long enough to reach the feet, elegant and colourful, or shorter than the knees, graceful and moving. In casual clothes, a headband is usually worn on the head, a short jacket with a big collar on the upper body, long trousers on the lower body, embroidered lace, an embroidered apron, and a little silver ornaments to set off.

The Miao nationality  苗族
The costumes of the Miao nationality 苗族的服饰

The clothes of Miao men are relatively simple. Most of the tops are short jackets with a pair of fronts or a long tunic with the right jacket. The shoulders are covered with wool felt with geometric patterns.

The diet of the Miao nationality 苗族的饮食

The food customs of the Miao people have their own characteristics. Hot and sour flavours are indispensable in the life of the Miao people. In the past, due to the lack of salt in the mountainous areas, many Miao people ate bland food all year round and could only use hot and sour seasonings, which formed a habit over time.

The Miao nationality  苗族
Fish in sour soup 酸汤鱼肉

The Miao people especially like to eat sour, especially the sour soup of the Miao family, which is well-known for its tender fish and meat, which is fragrant and delicious. The Miao people like to drink alcohol. After work, drink a little wine, relax the muscles and activate blood, and eliminate fatigue.

When relatives and friends visit, during New Year, festivals, and weddings, they must treat guests with wine. A set of traditional customs and etiquette for drinking has been formed over time. In many places, the Miao people have the custom of singing wine songs when feasting and toasting.

The batik of the Miao nationality 苗族的蜡染

Batik is a traditional skill passed down from generation to generation by the Miao people. According to the Miao custom, all women are obliged to inherit the batik skills, and each mother must teach her daughter to make batik. Therefore, Miao women have learned this skill since childhood. They plant indigo and cotton, spin and weave cloth, paint wax and pick shows, dip-dye and tailor, and pass it on from generation to generation.

The Miao nationality  苗族
Batik 蜡染

The embroidery of the Miao nationality 苗族的刺绣

Embroidery is a long-standing handicraft of the Miao nationality, the main decorative means of the Miao nationality costumes, and the representative of the Miao nationality female culture. Guizhou province in southwest China is home to a large number of Miao compatriots who have created different styles and styles of clothing.

The Miao nationality  苗族
The embroidery of the Miao nationality 苗族的刺绣

Although the subject matter of Miao embroidery is rich, it is relatively fixed, including dragons, birds, fish, bronze drums, flowers, butterflies, and pictures reflecting the history of the Miao nationality. Miao embroidery is very beautiful, and the techniques can be divided into 12 categories. There are many types of Miao embroidery, which can be roughly divided into monochrome embroidery and colour embroidery in terms of colour. Among them, colourful embroidery is embroidered with colourful silk threads, and the embroidery techniques are more complicated. Most of the themes are flowers, birds, insects, fish or dragons and phoenixes in nature. The finished embroidery is colourful and lifelike.

The Miao nationality (苗族)

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