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Chuxiong City History

Chuxiong City is a part of Yunnan Province that has generated considerable interest among the scientific community and students alike. This is because the city and the surrounding areas have been home to several excavation sites that had some of the oldest evidences of human life. Many items made of copper along with many fossilized remains of plants and animals have been found there. The city has preserved some of the oldest species of plants and animals as well. Most importantly, it is a splendid place for studying the Yi culture.  And Chuxiong city’s history has much to do with the Yi, Hui and other ethnic groups.


The History of Yi People

Some scholars believe that the Yi are descended from the ancient Qiangpeople of today's western China, who are also said to be the ancestors of the Tibetan, Naxi and Qiang peoples. They migrated from southeasternTibet through Sichuan and into the Yunnan Province, where their largest populations can be found today.

They practice a form of animism, led by a shaman priest known as theBimaw. They still retain a few ancient religious texts written in their unique pictographic script. Their religion also contains many elements of Daoism and Buddhism.

Many of the Yi in Liangshan and northwestern Yunnan practiced a complicated form of slavery. People were split into the nuohuo or Black Yi (nobles), qunuo or White Yi (commoners), and slaves. White Yi were free and could own property and slaves but were in a way tied to a lord. Other ethnic groups were held as slaves.


Legend

Most Yi believe they have the same ancestor, (Axpu Ddutmu or Axpu Jjutmu). It is said that Apu Dumu married three wives and had six sons: each of the wives bore two sons. In the legend, the oldest two sons leading their tribes conquered other aborigines of Yunnan and began to reside in most territory of Yunnan. The youngest two sons led their tribes eastwards and were defeated by Han, before finally making western Guizhou their home and creating the largest quantity of Yi script documents. The other two sons led their tribes across the Jinsha River and dwelled in Liangshan. This group had close intermarriage with the local.


Known History

Most Yi live in Liangshan, Chuxiong, and Honghe. At the Lizhou archaeological site (Chinese: 礼州遗址) nearXichang of Liangshan, dating to 3,000 years ago, many artifacts of the Neolithic Age have been discovered. Although no evidence proves that these ancient cultures of stone age have direct correlation with modern Yi people, their descendants, local bronze culture, may have had some influence on Yi people, as the ancestors of Yi people had frequent contact and intermarriage with local tribes, such as Dian (Chinese: 滇), Qiong (Chinese: 邛) and Zuo (Chinese: 笮), during their southwards migration from north eastern edge of Tibetan Plateau. Today, the Yi people still call the city of Xichang as ꀒꎂ (Op Rro). In spite of the affix “or-”, the root “dro” is believed by some scholars as related to the tribe Qiong (Chinese: 邛) as the pronunciation is quite close to the ancient pronunciation of Chinese character 邛.

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