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The Shui ethnic minority

(People's Daily)

17:01, August 25, 2011

Population: 347,100

Major area of distribution: Guizhou and Guangxi

Language: Shui

Religion: Polytheism


Photo: Chen Haiwen


There are in China 286,500 Shuis, the majority of whom dwell on the upper reaches of the Longjiang and Duliu rivers that meander across plains and rolling land interspersed with vast expanses of forests in southern Guizhou Province. They live in compact communities in the Sandu Shui Autonomous County and in Libo, Dushan and other counties. Some Shuis have their homes in the northwestern part of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The areas in which the Shuis live are a land of plenty, abounding in fish and rice. Wheat, rape, ramie are also grown besides a great variety of citrus and other fruits. The forests are a source of timber and medicinal herbs. The Duliu and other rivers teem with fish.

The Shui language belongs to the Zhuang-Dong branch of the Chinese-Tibetan language family. The Shuis used to have an archaic writing script. Some of their words were pictographs, while others resembled Chinese characters written upside down. Except for scores of these ancient words that are still used for religious purposes, the Shuis use Chinese in their daily lives.

The Shuis boast a treasure house of colorful oral literature and art. Their literature includes poetry, legends, fairy tales and fables. Among the various forms, poetry, which consists of long narrative poems and extemporaneous ballads, are generally considered the most prominent.

Stories and fables in prose style praise the diligence, bravery, wisdom and love of the Shui ethnic group and satirize the stupidity of feudal rulers. With rich content and vivid plots Shui tales are usually highly romantic.

Their songs, which are usually sung without the accompaniment of musical instruments, fall into two categories. The "grand songs" are sung while they work, whereas the "wine songs" are meant for wedding feasts or funerals.

The Shui people are good dancers. "Lusheng Dance" and "Copper Drum Dance" are the most popular dances enjoyed by all on festive occasions. Traditional musical instruments include gongs, drums, lusheng, huqin and suona horns. The Shui people make beautiful handicrafts -- embroideries, batiks, paper cuts and woodcarvings.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:刘晓宁)

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aCQhQZjqj at 2012-01-2488.190.26.*
Such an irmpesisve answer! You've beaten us all with that!
  

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