Bo people (China)

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The Bo people (Chinese: ; pinyin: rén) are a small minority population in Southern China, famous for their hanging coffins.[1]


The Bo people are native to southeastern Sichuan. In 1573 in Gong County, Sichuan, they were massacred by Ming imperial troops, and have disappeared from Gong County since then (Tapp 2003:69-70).[2]

However, some descendants of the Bo were found in 2005 in Xingwen County, Sichuan.[3][4][5][6]


Hanging coffins carved from a single log and bronze drums are widely found in the areas once inhabited by Bo people.[1][7][8]

Contemporary peoples[edit]

According to Edmondson (2003:165), the Lachi people of Vietnam and China may be descended from the Bo, based on the archaic exonym Labo (喇僰) in Chinese records.[9] The Lachi language belongs to the Kra subgroup of the Kra-Dai language family. Today, the Lachi refer to themselves as qu31 te341, with qu31 meaning 'people' (from Proto-Kra *khraC1 'people').[9]

The Ku of Qiubei County currently speak a Loloish language, and still practice hanging coffin traditions. According to their own records, the Ku people's ancestors had migrated from Yibin, Sichuan province a few centuries ago in order to escape wars.


Languages spoken by the Bo people(s) may have included:

Words of Bo origin that still exist in the local dialect (tuhua 土话) of Gong County, Sichuan include máng máng 牤牤 or alternatively niōng niōng ('pig 猪'), and gà gà 尬尬 ('meat 肉') (Huang & Li 2006:25).


  1. ^ a b "Suspended Coffins of the Bo People". Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  2. ^ Tapp, Nicholas. 2003. The Hmong of China: Context, Agency, and the Imaginary, 69-70. Leiden: Brill.
  3. ^ "Bo Descendants Found in Xingwen" (in Chinese). 2005-04-05. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  4. ^ 悬棺之谜 Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 珙县僰人悬棺[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ 僰人后裔有新说 Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ 僰为越论
  8. ^ 兴文县境内民族 Archived September 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b Edmondson, Jerold A. and Shaoni Li. 2003. "Review of Lajiyu Yanjiu by Li Yunbing." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 26 , no. 1: 163-181.
  • Huang Hualiang 黄华良; Li Shiwen 李诗文. 2006. Xuanya shang de minzu: Gongxian Boren ji xuanguan 悬崖上的民族:珙县僰人及悬棺. Chengdu: Bashu shushe 巴蜀书社. ISBN 7-80659-916-9