The Jinuo Nationality
The Jinuo nationality was not ascertained
until 1980. The population of the Jinuo us only 18,000.
They live in compact communities in the Jinuo mountain area
of Jinghong municipality in Xishuangbanna Prefecture. Some
are distributed in Mengla and Menghai counties.They called
themselves "Jinuo" which means the offspring of
the uncles. But they were called "Youle "by others.
Their ancestors were one branch of the ancient Qiang people.
Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the
Sino-Tibetan Language Family (Yi Branch). They have no writing
system, and use Han characters.
Before Liberation, the Jinuo nationality still
remained at the stage of the late primitive commune. And
there was also the trace of their past matriarchal society.
The traditional houses were wood or bamboo houses with straw
roofs. There was also the "Big House" in Jinou
village where several generations of the patriarchal families
lived. Every village had a "Zhuoba" (the male
head of the village) and a "Zhuosheng" (the female
head of the village ) who were in charge of the affairs
of the village. But with the development of productivity
and the increase of consumption, the "Big House "
system has disappeared.
The Jinuo people believe in primitive religion.
They worship the sun and have their costumes and bags embroidered
with the patterns of the sun. The Sun Drum is their important
religious tool and Sun Drum Dance is their unique dance.
Their principal festival is the New Rice Festival celebrated
after each autumn harvest. But the grandest one is the Temuoke
festival that falls in December or January on the lunar
calendar. On this occasion, people kill oxen to offer a
sacrifice to Heaven. They sing and dance to the music of
the Sun Drum. Since the festival is a time for people to
caste farm tools for the next farming season, it is also
called the Iron-Casting festival.
The costumes of the Jonuo people are
simple. The men usually wear white collarless coats, the
backs of which are embroidered with patterns of the sun.
They wear loose trousers. The women wear collarless seven-color
short skirts, and triangle-shaped white linen hats.