As a multi-functional garment serving as outerwear for the day, bedding for the night and even rainwear for rainy days, capes are seen as a lifelong companion for men of the Yi ethnic minority. You could never see a Yi man without capes. Even for little boys of five or six who don’t like to wear clothes, capes are often seen on them covering their naked bodies.
Capes for Yi men fall into two categories, one of which called “wula” in local language is woven with wool, with about five inches long strands of wool threads left unwoven serving as decorative fringing, while the other known as “sdo” among locals is made of woolen felt dyed with wave-shaped patterns.
With a top slightly wider than normal collars and a bottom about 1.5 meters wide, capes for Yi men are often long enough to touch the knees and in colors of black, grey, blue and white in rare cases. And when competing in horse races in Tianba, men would prefer to wear capes made of colorful machine-made cloth, red or green satin, or white light gauze or samite, in order to accentuate their bearings as these textiles can flow easily with winds.
Quote from page 27 in A Research Report on the Yi People in Xikang by Zhuang Xueben