Miao Village

Culture

Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village

by Live in Guizhou


PUBLISHED August 16, 2021 • 4MIN READ

If you travel to Guizhou and want to see the villages of Chinese ethnic minorities, then Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village is my top recommendation. It is the largest Miao Village in the world; actually it is formed by more than a dozen clusters of natural villages built on the mountains. This village has conserved the “original status” of Miao ethnic group and also serves as a natural museum exhibiting the epic of Miao’s development. Standing on the hillside facing the village, I saw piles of wooden stilt houses of Miao families. The old brown houses contrast well with the green mountains, making them very impressive.
Address: Nangui Village, Xijiang Town, Leishan County, Qiandongnan Prefecture.

Nanhua Miao Village

This is Nanhua Miao Village, located in Sankeshu Town, Kaili City, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province. The village was built on the hillside by the Bala River. The wooden stilt houses of the Miao people, surrounded by lush plants, emerge layer upon layer along the hills and portray a natural and original landscape. What has impressed me the most is a very beautiful chapel in the village.

Zhongdong Miao Village

Zhongdong Miao Village — the last cave-dwelling tribe in China. Zhongdong Miao village is located in Gejing Village, Shuitang town, near the Getu River in Ziyun County, Guizhou Province. It is both an original cave and a natural village. The cave is over 50-meter high, 100-meter wide and more than 200-meter deep, with a resident population of 73 Miao people from 18 households, whose ancestors took shelter in the mountains in wartime and then settled down in the cave.
Up to now, the cave dwellers still get up to work at sunrise and go to bed at sunset. In spring, the most beautiful time for Zhongdong Village is after 2p.m., when the slanting rays of the sun enter into the dark cave and bring light and warmth to the cave dwellers, even if just for a couple of hours.
Since Zhongdong Village became known by the outside world in the 1990s, its isolation came to an end. Poverty reduction volunteers, charity groups, journalists, as well as novelty seekers streamed to the village. The living conditions were therefore improved, and some villagers received aid.

A Wonder of Miao Architecture: the Wooden Stilt Houses

A Wonder of Miao Architecture: the Wooden Stilt Houses
Most of the buildings in a Miao village are wooden stilt houses. Given the difficulty in digging for foundation on the steep slopes of high hills, as well as the rainy and foggy weather, brick houses are unliveable due to the great humidity in the lower floors. The Miao people, living by mountains and rivers, came up with a wooden structure with great ventilation – the stilt house. Such a building is usually constructed in two or three floors, on a slope. The short top floor is only used to store food, while the base is used for keeping sundries and livestock. Modern architects consider it the best ecological architectural form.

The Last Gunmen Tribe in China

Biasha Miao Village in Congjiang County, Guizhou Province, is called “the last gunmen tribe in China”. Owning guns in Biasha is authorized by the government, and more than 80% of the local households hold a gun license.
The reason why the Biasha people are allowed to bear guns is because from the ancient times to the present, the Biasha people, who live in the forest, believe in the tree god, and for thousands of years they have been guarding the forest. Moreover, Biasha Miao Village applies very strict control over guns, ensuring that each owner holds a gun license and that each gun has the correct, corresponding number.
An interesting custom is that every Biasha person will plant a tree in his lifetime, and when he dies, that tree will be used to build a coffin for the person to rest in peace. When burying the deceased, instead of setting up a tombstone, the locals will plant another tree by which to remember him.

The Most “Barbarian” Way to Cut Hair: Using a Sickle

There are no barber shops in Biasha Miao Village in Guizhou, and for generations, the villagers have been using sharp sickles to shave their heads.
The Biasha men attach great importance to their hair. They have identical hairstyle – shaving off the sides and the back while leaving only the middle part of the hair to make a bun, a hairstyle to keep for life. It is said that this custom was passed down from the age of Chiyou and is the oldest male hairstyle ever seen in China.