Crow Magazine Vol.14-White as Snow, Bamboo as Gold


Yi people in Napo County were not originally from here. It is said that they moved from Kunlun Mountains, traveled through Erhai Lake, Liangshan, Dali and finally settled in Napo County, Guangxi. The population of the White Yi people is less than 2000; most of them live in villages like Dala, Nianbi, Zhexiang, Powu, etc. Dala Village, 14.5 km from town on Badang Mountain, is the major habitation of White Yi people in Napo County. After thousands of years of nomadic life and constant hostilities they face, the White Yi people developed their culture that embodies tenacity and unity.


Dala Village, the place where the White Yi people live in.

Kids and animals bring life to the old village.

These vegetables are gifts for the local people.
The dressing style of the White Yi people is mainly of white and black. A woman’s outfit is completed by nine pieces: two kerchiefs, bellyband, jacket, jewelry, waist jewelry, waist band, pants and puttees. A man’s outfit has six pieces: kerchief, jacket, vest, pants and leggings. The most characteristic parts of women’s clothes are the “tail” behind the bellyband and the waist accessories made of wood. Men all wear white top and black bottom while women’s colors vary according to their age. The young wear white top and the elder wear green or blue. The brides, however, wear red.
A look at the White Yi people in Dala Village
Stepped into Dala Village, we saw patches of phyllostachys parvifolias (a kind of bamboo). Legend says that once upon a time, the White Yi people were besieged in the mountain in a war. When they were running out of food and weapons, they used bamboo shoots as food and made different weapons out of bamboos, eventually chasing away all the enemies. The White Yi people think it is their ancestors’ will that let the bamboos save them.  Since then, the White Yi people have been growing a lot of phyllostachys parvifolia as their mascot.

Dala Village is not as wealthy as Tunli Village, where the Black-clothed Zhuang lives. Half of the people still live in wooden houses of poor conditions. The unpaved path gets very muddy after rain. The White Yi people don’t usually wear their traditional clothes in daily life because the white clothes can easily get dirty. During our visit, we only saw an old lady that wears traditional clothes. Her black puttee is a bit worn-out but her silver necklace is polished. She knows only a little Mandarin. Even though we were not sure how much she could get from the conversation, her sincere smile left us a warm impression of the Dala Village.

*Pictures from @entong and the internet. Some text from the internet.