The Tujia (Northern Tujia: Bifjixkhar/Bifzixkar, IPA: /bi˧˥ dʑi˥ kʰa˨˩/ /pi˧˥ tsi˥ kʰa˨˩/; Southern Tujia: Mongrzzir /mõ˨˩ dzi˨˩/; Chinese: 土家族; pinyin: Tǔjiāzú), with a total population of over 8 million, is the eighth-largest ethnic minority in the People's Republic of China. They live in the Wuling Mountains, straddling the common borders of Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou Provinces, and Chongqing Municipality.
Tujia girl in traditional dress
|approx. 8 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
(Hunan · Hubei · Guizhou · Chongqing)
Tujia language (traditional)
Although there are different accounts of their origins, the Tujia may trace their history back over twelve centuries, and possibly beyond, to the ancient Ba people who occupied the area around modern-day Chongqing some 2,500 years ago. The Ba Kingdom reached the zenith of its power between 600 BC and 400 BC but was destroyed by the Qin in 316 BC. After being referred to by a long succession of different names in ancient documents, they appear in historical records as the Tujia from about 14th century onwards.
The Tujia tusi chieftains reached the zenith of their power under the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), when they were accorded comparatively high status by the imperial court. They achieved this through their reputation as providers of fierce, highly disciplined fighting men, who were employed by the emperor to suppress revolts by other minorities. On numerous occasions, they helped defend China against outside invaders, such as the wokou ("Japanese" pirates) who ravaged the coast during the 16th century.
The Manchus invaded and conquered the Ming in 1644 and established the Great Qing Empire, known in China as the Qing Dynasty. Ever suspicious of local rulers, the Qing emperors always tried to replace Han officials with Manchu officials wherever they could. In the early 18th century, the Qing court finally felt secure enough to establish direct control over minority areas as well. This process, known as gaituguiliu (literally 'replace the local [ruler], return to mainstream [central rule]'), was carried out throughout south-west China gradually and, in general, peacefully. The court adopted a carrot-and-stick approach of lavish pensions for compliant chieftains, coupled with a huge show of military force on the borders of their territories.
Most of the Tujia areas returned to central control during the period 1728-1735. Whilst the Tujia peasantry probably preferred the measured rule of Qing officials to the arbitrary despotism of the Tujia chieftains whom they had replaced, many resented the attempts of the Qing court to impose national culture and customs on them. With the weakening of central Qing rule, numerous large-scale uprisings occurred culminating in the Taiping Rebellion which affected the area badly.
Following the collapse of the Qing, the Tujia found themselves caught between various competing warlords. More and more land was given over to the cultivation of high-earning opium at the insistence of wealthy landlords, and banditry was rife. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Tujia areas came under Communist control and banditry was rapidly eradicated. The Great Leap Forward led to mass famine in Tujia communities.
State Councillor Dai Bingguo, one of China's top officials on foreign policy, is the most prominent Tujia in the Chinese government.
Today, traditional Tujia customs can only be found in the most remote areas.
The Tujia are renowned for their singing and song composing abilities and for their tradition of the Baishou Dance (摆手舞), a 500-year-old collective dance which uses 70 ritual gestures to represent war, farming, hunting, courtship and other aspects of traditional life. They are also famous for their richly patterned brocade, known as xilankapu, a product that in earlier days regularly figured in their tribute payments to the Chinese court. For their spring festival they prepare handmade glutinous rice cakes called ciba cake. They gather round the fire to sing folk songs and eat grilled ciba.
Regarding religion, most of the Tujia worship a white tiger totem, although some Tujia in western Hunan worship a turtle totem.
Tujia is a Sino-Tibetan language and is usually considered an isolate within this group, although it has grammatical and phonological similarities with Nuosu (though its vocabulary is very different).
The vast majority of the Tujia use varieties of Chinese, mainly Southwestern Mandarin; a few speak Hmongic languages. Few monolingual Tujia speakers remain; nearly all are bilingual in some dialect of Chinese. Children now learn Chinese from childhood and many young Tujia prefer to use Chinese when communicating among themselves. Among fluent Tujia speakers, Chinese borrowings, and even sentence structures, are more common.
The Fifth National Population Census of 2000 recorded 8,028,133 Tujia in China.
|Province||Tujia Population||% of Total|
In Chongqing, Tujia make up 4.67% of the total population; in Hunan, 4.17%; in Guizhou, 4.06%; in Hubei, 3.66%; and in Guangdong, 0.16%.
(Only includes counties or county-equivalents containing >0.5% of China's Tujia population.)
|Province||Prefecture||County||Tujia Population||% of China's Tujia Population|
|Guizhou||Tongren||Yanhe Tujia Autonomous County||383,499||4.78%|
(Only includes counties or county-equivalents containing >1% of county population.)
|By county/city||Tujia %||Tujia||Total|
|Changyang Tujia autonomous county||50,66||211129||416782|
|Wufeng Tujia autonomous county||84,77||174546||205897|
|Enshi Tujia Miao autonomous prefecture||45,00||1698703||3775190|
|Zhijiang Dong autonomous county||1,63||5438||334229|
|Xiangxi Tujia Miao autonomous prefecture||41,12||1012997||2463617|
|Districts under the municipality||3,00||291073||9691901|
|Counties under the municipality||6,88||1132068||16460869|
|Shizhu Tujia autonomous county||71,93||348790||484876|
|Xiushan Tujia Miao autonomous county||38,93||197570||507522|
|Youyang Tujia Miao autonomous county||77,81||462444||594287|
|Pengshui Miao Tujia autonomous county||12,64||74591||590228|
|Daozhen Gelao Miao autonomous county||6,07||17404||286715|
|Wuchuan Gelao Miao autonomous county||11,98||46253||386164|
|Yuping Dong autonomous county||1,29||1628||126462|
|Yinjiang Tujia Miao autonomous county||69,74||233802||335263|
|Yanhe Tujia autonomous county||80,85||383499||474331|
|Songtao Miao autonomous county||2,59||14190||547488|
|Qiandongnan Miao Dong autonomous prefecture||1,03||39512||3844697|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture|
|Hubei||Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture|
|Changyang Tujia Autonomous County|
|Wufeng Tujia Autonomous County|
|Chongqing||Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County|
|Pengshui Miao and Tujia Autonomous County|
|Xiushan Tujia and Miao Autonomous County|
|Youyang Tujia and Miao Autonomous County|
|Qianjiang District (former Qianjiang Tujia and Miao Autonomous County)|
|Guizhou||Yanhe Tujia Autonomous County|
|Yinjiang Tujia and Miao Autonomous County|
Ba (Chinese: 巴; pinyin: Bā; literally: 'a pictograph for "snake", linguistically meaning "cling" and "handle"') was an ancient state in eastern Sichuan, China. Its original capital was Yicheng (Enshi City), Hubei. Ba was conquered by Qin in 316 BC. The modern minority Tujia people trace some of their origins back to the people of Ba.Ba, often described as a loose confederation or a collection of chiefdoms, consisted of several loosely affiliated independent clans who recognised a king. The Ba clans were highly diverse, being composed of multiple ethnicities. Archaeological evidence shows that the Ba people relied primarily on fishing and hunting, with low levels of agriculture and no evidence of irrigation.Cili County
Cili (simplified Chinese: 慈利县; traditional Chinese: 慈利縣; pinyin: Cílì Xiàn) is a county in Hunan Province, China under administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhangjiajie. Located in the north of Hunan and the east of Zhangjiajie, Cili County is bordered to the southeast by Taoyuan County, to the south and the southwest by Yongding District, to the west and the northwest by Sangzhi County, to the north and northeast by Shimen County. Cili is also the home of the Tujia people. The County has an area of 3,492 kilometres (2,170 mi) with 703,452 of registered population and roughly 613,000 permanent population (as of 2015). It is divided into 25 township-level divisions (November 27, 2015), its county seat is Lingyang Town (零阳镇).
Recently a tomb was discovered around Cili that was 2,200 years old. Among the items discovered was a bronze cooking vessel that contained fish. The tomb was that of an ancient senior official.Dai Bingguo
Dai Bingguo (simplified Chinese: 戴秉国; traditional Chinese: 戴秉國; pinyin: Dài Bǐngguó; born March 31, 1941) is a Chinese politician and professional diplomat. Since 2008, Dai has emerged as one of the foremost and highest-ranking figures of Chinese foreign policy in the Hu Jintao administration. Currently, Dai is the Chairman of Jinan University.
A graduate of Sichuan University, majoring in Russian language, Dai was instrumental in the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Soviet Union. Between 1989 and 1991 Dai served as the Chinese ambassador to Hungary. He then served in a succession of roles in the Department of Foreign Affairs. He served as a State Councilor, director of general office of foreign affairs leadership group of CPC Central Committee, an office that acts as the primary foreign affairs organ of the Communist Party of China, and director of general office of National Security Leadership Group of the CPC Central Committee, in which he serves in the capacity as a national security advisor to the CPC General Secretary.Furong Town
Furong (Chinese: 芙蓉; pinyin: Fúróng) is a town in Yongshun County, Xiangxi Prefecture, Hunan Province, China. The town, also advertised as Furong Ancient Town, is a tourist attraction in mountainous northwest Hunan, approximately halfway between the popular tourist destinations of Fenghuang County and Zhangjiajie. The town is well known for its scenic location, situated on cliffs above a waterfall that falls into the You River.
Furong was originally known as Wangcun, but was renamed following the success of the eponymous film, Hibiscus Town. The Tujia people were the original inhabitants of Wancun, and today Furong consists of a mix of Tujia and Han Chinese peoples.Nuo folk religion
Nuo folk religion, or extendedly Chinese popular exorcistic religion, is a variant of Chinese folk religion with its own system of temples, rituals, orders of priests and gods, which is interethnic and practiced across central and southern China but is also intimately connected to the Tujia people. It arose as an exorcistic religious movement, which is the original meaning of nuó (simplified Chinese: 傩; traditional Chinese: 儺), and it spread even outside the boundaries of China exporting such practices in Japan and Korea. It has strong influences from Taoism.One of the most distinguishing characters of Nuo folk religion is its iconographic style, which represents the gods as wooden masks or heads. This is related to its own mythology, which traces the origin of Nuo to the two very first humans, who were unjustly killed by beheading and are since then worshipped as responsive divine ancestors. Nuo rituals began as efficacious methods to worship them, Lord Nuo and Lady Nuo. Since the 1980s Nuo folk religion has undergone a revitalisation in China, and today is a folk religion endorsed by the central government. Nuo priests are classified as 巫 wu (shamans) and their historical precursors were the 方相氏 fangxiangshi ("masters who assist the (astral) square").Peng Sixun
Peng Sixun (Chinese: 彭司勛; 28 July 1919 – 9 December 2018) was a Chinese medicinal chemist.
A native of Baojing County, Peng was of Tujia descent. He graduated from the National College of Pharmacy in 1942, and completed a master's degree at Columbia University in 1950. Peng returned to teach at his alma mater, which had been renamed China Pharmaceutical University, and was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering in February 1996. Peng died at the age of 99 on 9 December 2018.Ran Yunfei
Ran Yunfei (born 1965) is a Chinese writer and a high-profile democracy activist and blogger. He was arrested in late March 2011, shortly after the start of the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests, on charges of inciting subversion of state power. He was released in August 2011 and remains under residential surveillance. Ran expressed through social media that he converted to Christianity on October 31st, 2015. He has been attending a Bible study since 2013.Shen Congwen
Shen Congwen (28 December 1902 – 10 May 1988), formerly romanized as Shen Ts'ung-wen, is considered to be one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, on par with Lu Xun. Regional culture and identity plays a much bigger role in his writing than that of other major early modern Chinese writers. He was known for combining the vernacular style with classical Chinese writing techniques. Shen is the most important of the "native soil" writers in modern Chinese literature.
He was slated to win the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, but died before he could be awarded the prize.Shimen County
Shimen County (simplified Chinese: 石门县; traditional Chinese: 石門縣; pinyin: Shímén Xiàn) is a northernmost county of Hunan Province, China, it is under administration of the prefecture-level city of Changde.
Located on the northern margin of Hunan and the west of Changde, Shimen County is bordered to the south and southwest by Taoyuan, Zili and Sangzhi Counties, to the west by Hefeng County of Hubei, to the north by Wufeng County of Hubei, to the east by Songzi City of Hubei, Li and Linli Counties. Shimen is a mountainous county located on the Wuling Mountains, Mount Huping (壶瓶山) which, at 2,098.7 metres (6,885 ft) on the northwest of the county, is the highest point of Hunan. Shimen is also the home of the Tujia people, the descendant of Chinese ancient Ba People, the Tujia people shares 50.9％ of the population in the county.The county has an area of 3,973 kilometres (2,469 mi) with 669,741 of registered population and 601,100 of permanent population (as of 2015). It is divided into 19 towns and townships, 5 units of State-owned farms (as of 2016).Tan Qiwei
Tan Qiwei (born August 1954) is a Chinese politician of Tujia ethnic heritage. He was the Vice Mayor of Chongqing, then the Vice Chairman of the Chongqing People's Congress. He was dismissed from office in May 2014 and placed under investigation by the Communist Party's anti-corruption body.Tou Chung-hua
Tou Chung-hua (Chinese: 庹宗華; pinyin: Tuǒ Zōnghuá; born 10 October 1962) is a Taiwanese actor. He won the 2005 Golden Bell Award for Best Actor.Tujia language
The Tujia language (Northern Tujia: Bifzivsar, IPA: /pi˧˥ ʦi˥ sa˨˩/; Southern Tujia: Mongrzzirhof, IPA: /mõ˨˩ ʣi˨˩ ho˧˥/; Chinese: 土家语, pinyin: Tǔjiāyǔ) is a language spoken natively by the Tujia people in south-central China. It is unclassified within the Sino-Tibetan language family, due to pervasive influence from neighboring languages. There are two dialects, Northern and Southern. Both dialects are tonal languages with the tone contours of ˥ ˥˧ ˧˥ ˨˩. The northern dialect has 21 initials, whereas the southern dialect has 26 (with 5 additional aspirated initials). As for the finals, the northern dialect has 25 and the southern 30, 12 of which are used exclusively in loanwords from Chinese. Its verbs make a distinction of active and passive voices. Its pronouns distinguish the singular and plural numbers along with the basic and possessive cases. As of 2005, the number of speakers was estimated at roughly 70,000 for the northern dialect (of which merely ca. 100 are monolingual), and 1,500 for the southern dialect, out of an ethnic population of 8 million.Waxiang people
The Waxiang people are an unrecognized ethnic group living along the Yuanjiang River in Hunan, China. They call themselves Huaxiang people (IPA::/wa33 ɕioŋ55/) and they speak Waxiang Chinese. Compared to the Han, Miao and Tujia people of the region, they are very different in terms of clothing, food, living, farming and other cultural norms.Xiang Jingyu
Xiang Jingyu (Chinese: 向警予; pinyin: Xiàng Jǐngyǔ; Wade–Giles: Hsiang Ching-yü, 4 September 1895 – 1 May 1928), whose old name was Xiang Junxian, was one of the earliest female members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), widely regarded as a pioneer of the women’s movement of China.Xu Qing
Xu Qing (Chinese: 许晴; born 22 January 1969), known also as Summer Qing, is a Chinese actress. She was accepted into the acting class of Beijing Film Academy in 1988 and graduated in 1992.Yang Xia
Yang Xia (Chinese: 杨霞; born January 8, 1977 in Hunan) is a female Chinese weightlifter. She currently studies journalism at Hunan Normal University.Yang Zhengwu
Yang Zhengwu (Chinese: 杨正午; born January 1941) is an ethnic Tujia Chinese politician. He was born in Longshan County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan. He was Communist Party of China committee secretary of his home county (1978–1981), his home prefecture (1983–1990) and his home province (1998–2005). He was governor (1995–1998) and People's Congress Chairman (1999–2006) of his home province.Zhao Shiyan
Zhao Shiyan (simplified Chinese: 赵世炎; traditional Chinese: 趙世炎; pinyin: Zhào Shìyán; 13 April 1901 in Youyang - 19 July 1927 in Shanghai) was a Chinese Communist martyr and former Chinese premier Li Peng's uncle.
In 1915, Zhao went to Beijing to study at the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University, majored in English. In 1919, he participated in the May Fourth Movement, China Youth Association. The following year, he went to France to study, co-founded the Communist Party of China. In 1922, Zhao Shiyan and Ho Chi Minh were invited to join the French Communist Party. In 1922, he went to the Soviet Union and studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East. In 1923, he was appointed as CPC Party Committee Chairman in Beijing. In the same year in December, he was appointed as Chairman of the Northern Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
In 1926, Zhao was sent to Shanghai with Zhou Enlai to lead the workers' armed uprising during the Northern Expedition. On 12 April 1927, Chiang Kai-shek launched a coup against his communist allies and massacred them in Shanghai. Zhao went into hiding, but was arrested at his home on North Sichuan Road on 2 July. He was executed in Shanghai on 19 July.
Zhao's sister Zhao Juntao married Li Shuoxun. Their son, Li Peng served as China's premier from 1987 to 1998.Zi River
The Zi River in Hunan, China, flows into the Yangtze River via Lake Dongting.
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