Chinese Name: 布朗族
English Name: The Blang people
Languages: Blang language 布朗语, Chinese 汉语
Total population: 1.19*105 (China mainland 2022)
Distribution: Mainly distributed in Yunnan
The Blang people 布朗族 are an ethnic minority with a long history. The national language is the Blang language, and there is no native language. The Blang nationality has a very rich oral culture and still retains the most distinctive national language, songs and dances, and customs.
The history of the Blang people
Historians generally believe that the Blang people originated from the ancient Pu ethnic group(The ethnic groups distributed in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River during the 221 BC, namely the areas along the Yangtze 长江 in today’s Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Chongqing). During the Western Han Dynasty, it was officially incorporated into the rule of the Central Dynasty. The Blang ethnic group are a nation with a tradition of struggle. They have contributed a lot to the founding of the People’s Republic of China along with other nations.
The religion of the Blang people
In addition to believing in Theravada Buddhism 小乘佛法, the Blang people also retain many traditional beliefs of primitive religions. People generally believe in ghosts and gods and worship ancestors. By offering sacrifices to the gods, people begged to remove disasters and obtain blessings. The Blang people regard tea as a sacred treasure and use it for sacrifices, weddings and funerals, or as gifts for relatives and friends.
The Cultures of the Blang people
Blang clothing 布朗族服饰
The clothing culture of the Blang people is unique. Living in the mountains and forests, the Blang people dress up in their own way and pay attention to their individuality. Due to their preference for black, their clothes are often dominated by black and cyan.
Judging from the dress of Blang men from all over the country, there is not much difference. The man is wearing a black or cyan collarless or round-neck long-sleeved cardigan, black wide-crotch trousers, short and fat trouser legs, and a black or white cloth headband. In addition, men have the habit of wearing bracelets.
The clothing of Blang women retains more traditional features. The Blang women in Xishuangbanna 西双版纳 and other places wear collarless and narrow-sleeved shirts with left and right sides, either black, white or blue, with tight waists and wide swings, double fronts crossed over the chest, and a streamer on each side of the corners. Tie the button on the left side with cloth tape.
The hem, cuffs and other edges of the top are trimmed with piping and lace in various colours. The jacket also wears a small sleeveless vest with a round neck and a placket. The neckline and chest are decorated with various coloured laces. There is a row of small buttons nailed on the chest.
Blang tattoos 布朗族文身
Tattooing is an ancient custom left by the ancestors of the Blang people. Blang men will have tattoos at the age of fourteen or five, and tattoo various patterns on the limbs, chest, waist, abdomen and back. With the popularization of scientific and cultural knowledge, the custom of tattooing gradually changed after the founding of New China.
Blang foods 布朗族饮食
Blang people take rice as their main food, supplemented by corn and beans. Their diet is characterized as sour, spicy, fragrant, cool and raw. They not only like to eat sour fish, sauerkraut, and sour bamboo shoots but also like to drink sour tea with unique national and regional characteristics which are made from boiled fresh tea leaves and acidified in a cool place.
The Blang people are good at making tea, and their long-term tea cultivation practice has enabled them to accumulate rich experience in tea making. All women of the Blangs are experts in tea making. For example, in April and May every year, they put the fresh tea leaves collected in a pot, fry and dry them, equipped into a bamboo tube with a lid, and bake them by the fire to give a fragrant and delicious bamboo tube tea.
Blang architecture 布朗族建筑
The traditional houses of the Blang people are dry-column bamboo buildings, which are bamboo and wood structures, which can not only ventilate and prevent moisture but also avoid the intrusion of wild animals, which is more suitable for the geographical environment and climate characteristics of the mountainous area.
The Blangs usually choose to build houses from February to April or October. When a family builds a bamboo house, almost all the adults in the village come to help, and it can be completed in two or three days. Generally, a bamboo building can live for 20 years, and the roof should be covered with thatch every two years.
Since the reform and opening up 改革开发, the housing conditions of the Blang people have also been improved accordingly. People began to use wooden planks for building, and the main room and the living room were separated from wooden planks. The roof is covered with tiles, and the tile roof is inlaid with bright glass tiles. The sturdy wooden walls and wooden buildings have replaced the old bamboo fence walls and bamboo fence buildings, but the architectural style is basically unchanged.