Naxi People

by Sarah Corbett

The Naxi people live in Yunnan province China. They migrated to the region from the yellow river area to south China in 770 – 221 BC and settled in the areas near to the Yalong and Jinsha rivers before 221 – 201 BC.

The Naxi peoples have their own written language called ‘Dongba characters’. They are the only living peoples to use a system of hieroglyphics in the world.

Naxi women wear linen trousers with a loose wide sleeved gown, which are topped with a waistcoat and a pleated apron. They wear embroidered shoes which are shaped as boats. Their clothing is embroidered with bands of floral designs, generally onto garments which are black, white or blue.

Over their shoulders they wear a sheepskin cape called You’er, which has seven embroidered discs across the back, which represent the moon and stars. The significance of these discs is that the women are prepared to work for long hours.

Women wear plaited headdresses which are adorned with large flat silver discs. These discs represent belonging under the canopy of the moon and stars.

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