Qabiao people

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Trang phuc Pu Peo.jpg
Total population
705 (1999 est.)
Regions with significant populations
Vietnam: Hà Giang 687 (2009)[1]
China: Wenshan
Qabiao, Vietnamese, Chinese

The Qabiao people (Vietnamese: Pu Péo) are an ethnic group living in Hà Giang Province, Vietnam, and Yunnan province, China. The total population was 705 as of a 1999 estimate, while Liang (2007) cites a total population of 777. In China, they are classified with the Yi people (Liang 2007). Their autonym is qa˧ biau˧ (Liang 2007:4). The Chinese also refer to the Qabiao as 'Bendi Lolo', which translates as 'indigenous Lolo'.[2]


Historically, the Qabiao have inhabited either side of the China-Vietnam border, although nowhere were they existing in large numbers. One survey conducted in 1990 showed that there were 307 Qabiao living in southern China, whereas 382 dwelt in northern Vietnam.[citation needed] In China, the Qabiao are concentrated near the Vietnam border, namely in the Tiechang, Matong, Punong, Pucha, and Pufeng villages of Malipo County in the Wenshan Zhuang-Miao Prefecture of Yunnan province. The Qabiao live in seven communes of Đồng Văn District in Hà Giang Province in Vietnam.[citation needed]

A village in Đồng Văn District, Vietnam.

Culture and traditions[edit]

The Qabiao women's traditional attire consisted of an ankle length skirt. For the upper body the women usually wore two vests. Now, there is an increasingly popular custom of wearing only the inner vest. Bok tam, as the inner vest is known, consists of five panels and has buttons under the right armpit. Bands of colored cloth are sewn around the hems, neck and sleeves of the dress, which resemble the embellishments found in the costumes of the Giay.

Traditional dress of the Qabiao


The Qabiao practice animism. Souls and spirits are cornerstones of their belief system. The Qabiao believe a person has eight souls and nine spirits, all of which control his or her actions and existence. Most Qabiao homes have a small altar at which are seen three sandstone jars. Each jar represents a generation of ancestors. Other paraphernalia include dried pumpkin and a bundle of oxtail hair attached to a stick. These items are said to be the deceased ancestors' clue to identifying their descendants.

The Qabiao have an oath of preserving the sacred forest.


The Qabiao people have the following pantheon (Liang 2007:8):

  • te˧ sau˧ ʑa˥ sau˧: principal god
  • sau˧ mun˧: sky god - controls the wind, rain, thunder, lightning
  • sau˧ muŋ˥: land god - controls rivers and mountains
  • sau˧ te˥: tree god


  1. ^ "The 2009 Vietnam Population and Housing Census: Completed Results". General Statistics Office of Vietnam: Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee. June 2010. p. 135. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Qabiao of Vietnam". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  • Liang Min, Zhang Junru & Li Yunbing (2007). Pubiao yu yanjiu. Beijing: The Ethnic Publishing House.

See also[edit]