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The Tu ethnic minority

(People's Daily)

15:34, August 28, 2011

Population: 192,600

Major areas of distribution: Gansu and Qinghai

Language: Tu and Han

Religion: Lamaism

Photo: Chen Haiwen

The Tu ethnic minority, known for their simplicity and industriousness, lives in the northwestern part of China -- to the east of Qinghai Lake and south of Qilian Mountain Range and along the banks of the Huangshui and Datong rivers. It is concentrated mainly in the Huzhu Tu Autonomous County in Qinghai Province, and also in the counties of Minhe and Datong. Others are scattered in Ledu, Menyuan and the Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County in Gansu Province.

The language of the Tu people belongs to the Mongolian branch of the Altaic language family. Its basic vocabulary is either the same as or similar to that of the Mongolian language, but it is much closer to the languages of the Dongxiang and Bonan ethnic minorities. Quite a number of religious terms are borrowed from the Tibetan language, while a good portion of everyday words, as well as new terms and phrases, come from the Han language, which has long been the medium of communication among the Tus of Datong County. The Tu people do not have a written language of their own; they use that of the Hans instead.

The costumes and personal adornments of the Tu people are strikingly unique. Men and women alike wear shirts with delicately designed embroidered collars whose colors are bright and well blended. Men like to dress in cloth robes, putting on high-collared fur gowns with waist belts in winter. They often dress up in felt hats with brocade brims. For women, jackets are tilted in the front with sleeves made up of five different kinds of cloth. Sometimes they slip on a sleeveless garment done in black, indicating formal attire. They used to be very particular about hairstyles, which numbered seven or eight different varieties. But this custom was suppressed under the Kuomintang regime before the founding of the People¡¯s Republic in 1949. Nowadays, simple hairstyle topped by a brocaded felt hat has become fashionable among Tu women.

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Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

NFAmtqMH at 2011-11-09209.236.216.*
I can already tell that's gonna be super heflupl.
HuGQtGfFWDxVpIDv at 2011-11-07218.249.74.*
I'm not whotry to be in the same forum. ROTFL

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