Chinese Name: 壮族
English Name: The Zhuang people, The Zhuang nationality
Languages: Zhuang language 壮语, Chinese 汉语
Total population: 1.69*107 (China mainland 2022)
Distribution: Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan, etc.
The Zhuang people 壮族 originated from the Lingnan area 岭南 recorded in the historical records of the Han Chinese 汉族. There are Zhuang people in 31 provinces, autonomous regions 自治区 and municipalities directly under the Central Government, mainly living in the south.
Its distribution range starts from Lianshan Zhuang and Yao Autonomous County 连山壮族瑶族自治县 of Guangdong Province in the east, to Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture 文山壮族苗族自治州 of Yunnan Province in the west, to Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture 黔东南苗族侗族自治州 of Guizhou Province in the north, and to Beibu Gulf in the south. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is the main distribution area of Zhuang.
The history of the Zhuang People
The Zhuang nationality is a nation with a long history. The Zhuang nationality originated from the Lingnan area recorded in the historical records of the Han Chinese. In 214 BC, Qin Shihuang 秦始皇 sent troops to unify the Lingnan area and set up prefectures and counties in Lingnan, thus officially bringing the area under the rule of the central dynasty. After the Qin Dynasty 秦朝 unified Lingnan, a large number of Han people moved to Lingnan, which further promoted the integration of the ethnic groups, and the political, economic and cultural ties of the people became closer.
The religion of the Zhuang People
The Zhuang people do not have a unified religious belief. The Zhuang people believe in many gods, worshipping gods of the sky, thunder gods, earth gods, ancestors, etc. After the Cao Wei 曹魏 and Jin Dynasty 晋朝, with the introduction of Taoism and Buddhism into the Zhuang area, the Zhuang religious belief system mutated under its influence, forming a “religion” dominated by primitive religion, integrating Taoism and Buddhism, and believing in many gods.
The Cultures of the Zhuang People
Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art 左沿江壁画
Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art, with a history of more than 2000 years, is mainly distributed on the cliffs on both sides of the Zuojiang River and its tributary Mingjiang River in Ningming, Longzhou, Chongzuo, Fusui and other counties in southwestern Guangxi. A total of 183 sites have been discovered so far, the most famous of which is the Huashan Cliff Mural by the Mingjiang River in Ningming County.
On this large cliff with a width of about 200 meters and a height of about 50 meters, it is densely covered with various portraits of bright red colour. At present, there are more than 1,800 portraits that can be identified, the largest portrait of a person. Up to 2.41 meters, small about 30 cm
There are three main types of portraits in Zuojiang Cliff murals: figures, animals and utensils, with rough and powerful strokes. Zuojiang Cliff Mural is an outstanding and immortal artistic creation of the ancestors of the Zhuang nationality, and its content reflects the social life of the ancestors of the ancient Zhuang nationality to a certain extent.
Bronze drum 铜鼓
Bronze drums have a history of more than 2,000 years. At present, there are more than 600 pieces unearthed and collected in Guangxi, and more than 1,400 pieces have been collected and registered by the people. There are many types and sizes of bronze drums, with the largest diameter reaching 1.63 meters. The smallest weight is twenty or thirty kilograms, and the large one is nearly 500 kilograms.
The use of bronze drums has always been different. There are military music, folk music, sacrificial music, and a symbol of power and wealth. The bronze drum is not only a practical tool, but also a beautiful work of art. It has both embossed patterns and three-dimensional sculptures. It is a combination of sculpture art and vertical sculpture, and is a comprehensive artwork that reflects the superb casting technology and artistic level of Zhuang craftsmen.
Zhuang brocade 壮锦
Zhuang brocade is a handicraft created by Zhuang women. Zhuang brocade uses cotton yarn as the warp and velvet as the weft. The warp threads are generally primary colours, and the weft threads are woven into various beautiful patterns with various colours. Zhuang brocade is bright in colour, exquisite in weaving, soft in texture, strong and durable.
Because the Zhuang people love the phoenix, which symbolizes auspiciousness, the phoenixes on the Zhuang brocade are vivid and unique. Zhuang brocade has a variety of colours and a wide range of uses. It can be used as bed blankets, quilt covers, aprons, straps, belts, handbags, satchels, headscarves, clothing decorations, etc.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Zhuang brocade has been further developed as a handicraft rich in ethnic style. In addition to continuing to produce traditional patterns, more than 40 new patterns have also been created.
Zhuang nationality clothing 壮族民族服装
Most of the clothing of the Zhuang nationality is the same as that of the Han nationality, but in the villages of western Guangxi, especially the middle-aged and elderly women, they still retain the characteristics of their own national costumes.
For example, in the northwestern part of Guangxi, middle-aged and elderly Zhuang women often wear collarless, embroidered and piping clothes and pants with piping and wide feet, embroidered aprons around their waists, pleated skirts and embroidered shoes, and silver jewellery.