People & culture...........................................................................................................................
INTRODUCTION MINORITIES & ETHNIC GROUPS ART AND CRAFT
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  •     Dai Ethnic Minority

            
    Editor:Petter       Organization:Guangxi Tourism Infomation Centre   Edited Date:2008-3-25 15:25:13  

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    People & Culture

    Introduction | Tribes | Art & Craft | Music & Dance | Traditional Weddings | Festivals & Events

    Introduction

                 


      

    Population and Distribution 
    The Dai ethnic minority, which numbers 1,158,989, is distributed throughout the Dai Autonomous Region and the Dehong Dai-Jingpo Autonomous Region in Xishuangbanna in the southern part of Yunnan Province. In the past, they were called 'Baiyue', meaning a vast living area. Therefore, they have established a close relationship with ethnic groups like the Zhuang, Dong, Shui, Bouyei and Li, who are said to be the descendants of the Dai people.

    Language
    The Dai language belongs to the Zhuang-Dai branch of the Zhuang-Dong group of Sino-Tibetan languages. The written language was derived from Devanagari and differs from region to region.

    Religion
    The religion of the Dai people is Southern Buddhism, which was adopted in the 6th to 8th century and had a profound influence on their politics, economy, culture and arts. Religious activities are so common that most 8 to 10-year-old boys, in particular in Xishuangbanna, are sent to temples where they learn sutras for one to five years. They then leave the temple and spend their lives as secularized monks.

    Resources
    Thanks to the area's favorable climate, agriculture and horticulture developed very early. An abundance of rice won for Xishuangbanna the title 'barn of south Yunnan, and local tea, bamboo, and sugar cane are high in quality. According to historical records, Pu'er Tea was presented to the emperor as a tribute as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Now the Dai region has become an important producer of rubber.
    Other resources are also abundant. There are wild apples, bananas and Chinese gooseberries, rare animals like gibbons and peacocks, and minerals like gold, silver, iron, and crystal.

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