Tujia - History and Cultural Relations

There are conflicting versions of the origin of the Tujia. Some sources trace their descent to the ancient Ba people of northeast Sichuan, while others identify them as the "Wu Man" (black barbarians) who moved from Guizhou Province. Another interpretation is that they originated in Jiangxi Province and moved westward at the end of the Tang dynasty. Our view is that the ancestors of the Tujia were native to the area, and were joined by conquerors and immigrants from different places over a long period of time. They were regarded as a distinct ethnic group in western Hunan and Hubei by the early Five Dynasties period (c. 910 AD). From the twelfth century, through frequent contact with Han settlers, they adopted metallurgical and agricultural techniques and became involved in commercial production and local marketing systems. Tujia continue to interact frequently with neighboring Han and Miao communities. They exchange local products, celebrate some of the same festivals, and at present their children share the same schools at all levels.

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