People of the Tiger – the Yi of China

The International Museum of Cultures explores the myths of different peoples, such as the Yi peoples of China.

The Yi peoples of China are associated with the Tiger Spirit, a principal spirit of their folklore.  The Yi tiger myth tells of a Tiger Spirit who was god of the universe.  He came to earth one day, and a strong wind caused him to fall against a rock and die.  His head became the East, his hind parts the West, one paw became the North, and the other paw became the South.  The tiger’s flesh became the plants, and a hair of his mustache became buckwheat.

The majority of Chinese today are the Han nationality, numbering over 600 million.  The Yi are one of 57 nationalities in China, and our exhibit features some 500,000 of the Yi, known as the Central (or Chuxiong [chew-showng]) Yi.

The Central Yi live in Yunnan Province in Chuxiong Prefecture  – most preferring to live in the mountainous areas, away from the big cities.

This Yi exhibit at the museum features photos of the region and information on their farming industry, home life, art, music, dress and dance.

If you have more information on the Yi peoples of China, please share them with us.

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