June 19, 2017

3093 CHINA (Yunnan) - Pumi people

The Pumi people are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China, ethnically related to the Tibetans, and recognized as an official minority nationality unique to Yunnan, with a population of 30,000. They live on rugged mountains as high as 2,600 meters above sea level, cut by deep ravines. They live in approximately 500 villages spread in rugged mountains as high as 2,600 meters above sea level, cut by deep ravines. In many locations they live beside members of the Naxi nationality. Prinmi, the Pumi language, belongs to the Qiangic branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.

They originally lived as nomads in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, but later they moved to the warmer areas along valleys within the Hengduan Mountain Range in the 4th century B.C. Their ancestors probably are the ancient Qiang people. Subsequently, they moved to Northern Sichuan in the 7th century, and subsequently to northwest Yunnan in the 14th century. Many of them settled down to become farmers, and local landlords dominated the Pumi economy in Lanping and Lijiang counties. With the coming of the Cultural Revolution, the landlords' powers were severely weakened.

Because of their origins, the Pumi are culturally influenced by the Tibetans. The Lunar New Year is celebrated on the first fifteen days of the new year based on the lunar calendar. They were influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, along with the older practice of Bön. Through the efforts of missionaries, a significant proportion have adopted the Gelugpa and Kagyu lineage of Lamaism. However, some Pumi still install Zanbala altars in their home, which were worshipped by the older generations. The Zanbala religion consists of the veneration of three gods and ancestral spirits. Almost all Pumi villages have their own local mountain gods, which are worshipped during festive seasons. 

Especially in Ninglang and Yongsheng, Pumi women often wear jackets with buttons down one side. Long and pleated skirts, multi-colored wide belts are worn. Owing to its cold weather, a goatskin is draped over their backs. However, in the case of the Lanping and Weixi areas, the womenfolk tend to wear colored long-sleeved jackets under their vests, along with long trousers which are fastened with embroidered belts. Like the Tibetans, Pumi women plait their hair with yak tail hairs and silk threads. Subsequently, their heads are wrapped in large cloths. Prized jewellery, such as silver earrings and bracelets are worn among the rich as well.

Pumi men tend to wear either sleeveless goatskin or linen jackets with and long trousers, which is accompanied by the Tibetan hat. Especially in the case of the hunters and warriors, a long Tibetan sword and deerskin bags may be carried. Upon reaching thirteen, the Pumi boys will go through the ablution rites of manhood and only after ablution may they put on adult clothing and take part in society's activities. Generally, the Pumi are a patrilineal and monogamous society, although polygamy is accepted in places like Yongning in northern Ninglang.

About the stamps
The last three stamps are part of the series The 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II, about which I wrote here. 

Pumi people - Wikipedia
Pumi Ethnic Group - Trip China Guide
Pumi minority - Facts and Details

Sender: Xia Jianming (direct swap)
Sent from Nantong (Jiangsu / China), on 22.04.2017 

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