The population of the Lisu nationality
is 580,000,half of whom live in compact communities
in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture. The rest are
scattered in Lijiang, Dehong, Chong, Chuxiong and
Baoshan. Their ancestors were a branch of the Diqiang
people.They were called "Linman", "Shiman"
or "Shunman" in the Tang, Song and Yuan
Dynasties, and "Lixie" and "Lisu"on
the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the 8th century, their
ancestors inhabited a wide region along the Yalong
River and the Jinsha River. From the 15th to the to
the 19th century, they moved gradually to the Lancang
and the Nujiang valleys.
The Lisu people have their own language,
which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the Sino-Tibetan
Language Family (Yi Brach). In 1975,the Chinese Government
helped them to create their new writing system in
In the course of production, the Lisu
people created their unique Natural Calendar. That
is , they divided a year into flower-Blooming Month(March),Bird-Sqirking
Month (April).Cultivation Month(May), Hungry Month(June),
Gathering Month (July and August), Harvesting Month
(September and October), Wine Brewing Month (November),Huntong
Month(December), New Year Month (January ) and Construction
Month(February), which were based on the topographical
feature and the climates. Their houses are wood or
bamboo houses called "Houses on Numerous Poles".
They kept their system of clans and adopted the names
of animals and plants as clan names, such as tiger,
bear, sheep, snake, chicken, bird, bee, buckwheat,
bamboo, flax and tea.
The costumes of the Lisu women are very
beautiful. Generally they wear coats with buttons
on the right, and linen trousers with different colors,
They are divided into Black, White and Colorful braches
according to the colors of the clothes they wear.
For example, the Colorful :Lisu wear long skirts with
colorful laces, and colorful turbans. Men usually
wear linen gowns or coats, trousers stretching to
the ankles, and turbans, with swords worn on the left
and arrow-bags on the right.
The main festivals are the Kuoshi
Festival(New Year),the Sword Pole Festival and the