Lahu - History and Cultural Relations

According to Chinese historical tradition, the origin of the Lahu can be traced to the ancient Qiang or Di-Qiang mentioned in early historical accounts. It is thought that some 2,000 years ago, some of the Qiang migrated southward into Yunnan, the ancestors of the Lahu among them. The Lahu once were known for their skill at hunting tigers. As hunters and farmers they exploited the lush slopes of the towering Ailao and Wuliang mountains in western Yunnan. In the eighth century A.D. , during the rule of the Nanzhao Kingdom in western Yunnan, the Lahu people were pushed to move farther southward and eastward. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, they were already settled in their present areas. Here they came under the political and economic influence of the more complex and sophisticated Dai culture, as well as that of the Han. Intensive agriculture replaced slash-and-burn methods of farming in some areas. At the same time, Dai rulers and Han landlords economically dominated some of the Lahu areas. From the eighteenth century on, there were a number of uprisings in which Lahu joined with Hani, Wa, and, in some instances, Han or Dai. During this period the revival of Mahayana Buddhism, spread by Bai monks and priests from Dali, also influenced the Lahu and the new religion played a part in the content and organization of the uprisings. Culturally, the Lahu remained more closely related to Yi, Naxi, Hani, and Lisu, who trace their origins to the original Di-Qiang peoples. Since 1949, the Lahu have borrowed more cultural traits from the Dai and the Han, particularly in housing, clothing, and general economic activities.

Also read article about Lahu from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: