Exhibition of Attire and Adornment of Ethnic Minorities by Yunnan Provincial Museum
Featuring various models and rich palettes, the attire and adornment of the Yi people is the epitome of the ethnic group’s aesthetics and traditional culture. However, the garments and embellishments are conspicuously different from branch to branch due to the large number of sporadically-located sub-groups of the Yi ethnic minority. They can be roughly categorized into six styles geographically, southeast of Yunnan, west of Yunnan, Chuxiong, Liangshan, Wumengshan and Honghe, with each further composed of various sub-styles.
The adornments on the Hani garments, such as the embroidered patterns, not only reflect the ethnic group’s living environment, but also record and commemorate the heroic behaviors of their ancestors. The garments of various branches of the Hani people are recognizable as they have the same embroidery motifs, embellishments and color palettes.
People of the Bulang ethnic minority group knew how to knit, weave and dye in as early as the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279 AD). Since the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912 AD), both men and women of the Bulang group have been wearing chignons. The Bulang women would usually put on a colorful short blouse to go with a long black skirt, with their shins surrounded by multiple vine circles. They also love to wear bamboo hats, and adorn themselves with big ring-shaped earrings in silver or copper, copper bracelets, blue or green bead string necklaces hanging to the navel and embellished with colorful mineral beads and shells.
People of the Wa ethnic minority group values red and black. So they love to wear black clothes with red embellishment, and still keep the dressing features of ancient mountainous groups. The Wa women are usually adorned with distinctive accessories, the most eye-catching one of which is the about 3 cm-wide silver hair loop that arranges the long hair. They also like to wear big ring-shaped earrings, wide bracelets, narrow vine circles, reflecting the outgoing, unrestrained characters of the Wa people.
Sheepskin capes are an important trademark of Nakhi women’s attire in Lijiang, Yunnan. They are usually cut out of an entire piece of black sheepskin, with two square corners in the upper and two round ones in the lower. Seven round cloth patches are arranged in a line in the center of the cape, from the center of each hang two sheepskin tapes. Such a design, symbolizing the seven stars of the Big Dipper, is commonly known as “getting up by starlight and not getting off work until the moon rises”, a testimony to the busy farming life of the diligent Nakhi women.
Yunnan Provincial Museum