Blang people

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Blang (Bulong)
Total population
92,000
Regions with significant populations
China: Yunnan; smaller populations in Burma and Thailand
Languages
Blang
Religion
Theravada Buddhism, Animist
Related ethnic groups
Va
The Blang village of Manpo, Xishuangbanna.

The Blang (布朗族 : Bùlǎng Zú) (also spelled Bulong) people are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

Language[edit]

The Blang language belongs to the Palaung-Wa branch of the Mon–Khmer family of languages. Within the Palaung-Wa branch, Blang belongs to the Waic subgroup, which also contains the languages of the Wa and Lawa peoples in addition to Blang. Some Blang also speak the Chinese language and Dai languages in addition to speaking Blang. Two systems of writing based on the Latin alphabet have been developed: 'Totham' in the Xishuangbanna and 'Tolek' from Dehong and Lincang.

History[edit]

Chinese ethnographers identify the Blang as descendants of an ancient tribe known as the "Pu" (濮), who lived in the Lancang river valley during ancient times. It is believed that these people were one branch of a number of peoples that were collectively known to the ancient Chinese as the Bǎipú (百濮, literally "Hundred Pu").

Culture[edit]

Traditionally, the Blang considered teeth blackened by chewing betel nuts a beauty characteristic.

The women usually dress in jackets with black skirts. The men had tattoos in the torso and the stomach. They dressed in wide black trousers and jackets buttoned to the front. Often they would wear turbans of either white or black fabric.

The houses of the Blang are made out of bamboo and usually consist of two floors. The first floor is designed as a warehouse for food and a stable for livestock animals, such as chickens, whereas the second is designed to house the family. The chimney is located in the center of the house.

The Blang are traditionally divided into small clans, with each clan owning its own land. Every Blang town has its own cemeteries, which are divided by clans. The deceased are buried, with the exception of those who perished due to unnatural causes. In this case they are cremated.

Religion[edit]

The Blang are traditionally associated with animism, ancestor worship, and Theravada Buddhism. Writing in 2011, James Miller described these overlapping traditions as follows, "The Blang, like many nationalities in southwest China are Theravada Buddhists, but their highly complex religious life is also informed by local beliefs and customs that relate to the traditional ecology, with special attention being paid to rice, water, bees, beeswax, and the various local spirits that are associated with them."[1] An overtly Christian missionary source (i.e., with observations reflecting attempts to convert the Bulang) describes them as "ardent followers of Theravada Buddhism", and offers as an estimate that 80% of the Bulang are "professing Buddhists", with a lower estimate of 35% being "practicing Buddhists".[2]

Distribution[edit]

The Bulang are distributed in the following villages of Yunnan province (Tao 2012:16-18).[3]

  • Menghai County (pop. 30,678; 33% of all ethnic Bulang in China)
  • Shuangjiang County (pop. 12,527; 7.9% of all ethnic Bulang in China)
    • Bangbing Township 邦丙乡 (17 villages)
    • Dawen Township 大文乡 (12 villages)
    • Mengku Township 勐库镇 (3 villages)
    • Shahe Township 沙河乡 (3 villages)
  • Yongde County (pop. 6,630)
    • Yongkang Township 永康镇: Songgui 送归, Luo'ade 罗阿德, Xiaobaishui 小白水, Luoshuiba 落水坝, Xiamangping 下忙坪, Nanmusuan 南木算, Manghai 忙海, Yatang 鸭塘
    • Xiaomengtong Township 小孟统乡: Dazhai 大寨, Hudong 户董, Hewei 河尾, Landizhai 烂地寨, Banpo 半坡
    • Mengban Township 勐板乡: Ganzhe 甘蔗, Xiazhai 下寨, Dazhai 大寨, Huangguozhai 黄果寨, Datian 大田, Nandongshan 南董山, Xiahuya 下户丫
    • Dashan Township 大山乡: Huwei 户威, Hongshan 红山, Malizhai 麻栗寨, Pahong 怕红
    • Menggong 勐汞乡, Dedang 德党乡, Zhaigang 寨岗乡, Daxueshan 大雪山乡 townships
  • Yun County (pop. 5,741)
    • Manghuai Township 忙怀乡: Bangliu 邦六, Gaojingcao 高井槽
    • Manwan Township 漫湾镇: Dapingzhang 大平掌, Manjiu 慢旧
    • Maolan Township 茂兰乡: Mao'an 茂岸, Zhanglong 掌龙
    • Dazhai Township 大寨乡: Xinhe 新合, Pingzhang 平掌, Dacun 大村, Reshuitang 热水塘
    • Yongbao Township 涌宝乡: Shilong 石龙, Langbashan 浪坝山, Laolu 老鲁
    • Lishu Township 栗树乡: Mangbang 忙蚌, Manlang 慢郎, Xiaobanggan 小邦赶
  • Gengma County (pop. 2,957)
    • Manghong Township 芒洪乡: Keqie 科且村
    • Mengyong Township 勐永镇: Mangnuozhai 忙糯寨
    • Gengxuan Township 耿宣镇: Mangfu 芒福, Bakazhai 坝卡寨
  • Lincang County (pop. 450)
  • Zhenkang County (pop. 452)
  • Fengqing County (pop. 1,276)
    • Dazhai Township 大寨乡: Dalise 大立色村, Qiongyin 琼英村
    • Sanchahe Township 三岔河乡: Shantoutian 山头田村
    • Dasi 大寺乡, Yingpan 营盘乡, Fengshan 凤山乡, Luodang 洛党乡 townships
  • Shidian County (pop. 6,712)
    • Bailang Township 摆榔乡: Hazhai 哈寨, Upper and lower Mulaoyuanzhai 上下木老元寨, Dazhong Jianshan 大中尖山, Yaoguang 姚光
  • Changning County (pop. 1,000+)
    • Kasi Township 卡斯乡: Xingu 新谷, Shuanglong 双龙, Yingbaizhai 应百寨, Ergoudi 二沟地
    • Gengga Township 更嘎乡: Baicaolin 百草林, Dachushui 大出水
  • Lancang County (pop. 6,500)
    • Huimin Township 惠民乡: Manjing 蛮景, Manhong 蛮洪, Wengji 翁机, Wengwa 翁洼
    • Qianliu Township 谦六乡: Dagang 打岗, Dagun 打滚, Machang 马厂, Danao 大脑
    • Dongwen Township 文东乡: Shuitang 水塘, Jiuku 旧苦, Pasai 帕赛, Nasai 那赛
  • Mojiang County (pop. 1,000+)
    • Jingxing Township 景星乡: Taihe 太和村
  • Jinggu County (pop. 1000+)
    • Bi'an Township 碧安乡: Guangmin 光明村
    • Mengban Township 勐班乡: Manhai 蛮海村
    • Banpo Township 半坡乡: Bandu 班督村
  • Simao County
    • Zhulin Township 竹林乡: Cizhulin 茨竹林村

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Religion and James Miller, 2011, Ecology of the Blang Minority Nationality, posted at The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, http://fore.research.yale.edu/news/item/the-religion-and-ecology-of-the-blang-minority-nationality/
  2. ^ http://www.asiaharvest.org (i.e., a Christian Missionary organization) fact sheet as accessed Dec. 2011., http://www.asiaharvest.org/pages/profiles/china/chinaPeoples/B/Bulang%20(B).pdf
  3. ^ Tao Yuming [陶玉明]. 2012. The Bulang people of China [中国布朗族]. Yinchuan: Ningxia People's Press [宁夏人民出版社].