Discover The Colorful Yi Tribe of China.
Decked out in flamboyant headpieces and colorful dresses, the Yi people are a Chinese minority tribe numbering eight million people. Living mainly in the hillside and basin areas in certain provinces, Yi ethnic group is reputed as a nation with a long history and splendid culture within South Western China.
The most distinctive aspect of the Yi tribe is their clothing which is not only renowned for its intricate designs and bright colours, but also for its durability against the elements and protection against the region’s harsh mountain winds. The women usually wear clothes with beautiful flowers embroidered on them and long trousers with exquisite lace or skirts with numerous pleats. The pleated skirts worn by women and the turban-style headrests that men don indicate the strict gender norms of Yi culture.
Festivals play an important role in Yi culture and society. Among them, the Torch Festival, held on the 24th day of the lunar month of June is perhaps the grandest. It is held to celebrate and commemorate the historical victory of a rebellion against a tyrannical landlord and goes on for three days, where the people enjoy themselves wrestling, horse racing, bull fighting, and partaking in tugs-of-war. When night comes, large bonfires are lit, with people sitting around, singing and dancing all night.
Prowess in painting, sculpture, embroidery, and drawing as well as skill in playing a number of traditional musical instruments, including large plucked and bowed string instruments further highlight the rich cultural heritage and legacy of the Yi in the heart of China.