Mulao people

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[[File:Alternative names:
Total population
207,000 (est.)
Regions with significant populations
Guangxi, China
Mostly Buddhist, Taoist
with strong Animist influence [1]
Related ethnic groups
Dong, Zhuang

The Mulao (Chinese: 仫佬族; pinyin: Mùlǎozú; own name: Mulam) people are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. In their name, Mulam, mu6 is a classifier for human beings and lam1 (in some dialects it is kyam1) is another form of the name used by the Dong (Kam), to whom the Mulam people are ethnically related. A large portion of the Mulam in Guangxi live in Luocheng Mulao Autonomous County of Hechi, Guangxi.


It is believed that the Mulam are the descendants of the ancient Ling and Liao tribes[citation needed] that inhabited the region during the time of the Jin Dynasty. During the Yuan dynasty, the Mulam lived in a feudal society and they paid a series of tributes twice a year to the emperor.

During the Qing Dynasty, their territories suffered an administrative division; their lands were divided into dongs, which were composed of units for 10 dwellings. Each dong had its own local leader, responsible for maintaining the order and of collecting the taxes. Each dong was generally formed by families that shared the same surname.


Main article: Mulam language

The Mulam speak the Mulam language, a Tai–Kadai language that uses Hanzi when written.


Traditionally, the marriages among the Mulao were arranged by the parents and traditionally, new wives did not live together with their new husbands until the birth of their first son.

Their homes are made out of clay with brick roofs and are composed of three rooms. The animals are maintained far away of the family dwellings.

The traditional clothing of the men consists of a jacket of large buttons, wide pants and sandals. The single women arranged their hair into two tresses that become a tuft when they are married.


Although the religion no longer plays a main role in the daily life, traditionally the Mulao have been mostly animists. Each month they celebrated diverse festivals. The most important one of them was the festival Yifan, where diverse sacrifices of animals were carried out.

Another one of their festivals was the dragon boat festival that was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. During this celebration, the shamans carried out ceremonies to assure good crop harvests and to expel harmful insects.


  • Ramsey, S. Robert. 1987. The Languages of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton New Jersey ISBN 0-691-06694-9