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Photographer's Note

The Yi people are an ethnic group in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Numbering 8 million, they are the seventh largest of the 55 minor ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They live primarily in rural areas of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, usually in mountainous regions.

The Yi speak a Tibeto-Burman language and have their own script. As animists, Yi worship the spirits of ancestors, hills, trees, rocks, water, earth, sky, wind, and forests, but their religion also includes elements from Daoism, shamanism and fetishism

Traditional Yi society was based upon four castes: the Nuohuo, the Qunuo, the Ajia and the Xiaxi, the lowest being slaves, while the highest rank was determined by blood lineage only. In the Liangshan Mountains this system lasted till 1949.

My Yi pictures were taken in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region in southern Sichuan. This kind man is a trader from the mountains at the market in Puge. The pipe is typically Yi, but his clothes are Chinese army style. You can tell from his shoes that he is poor, but I admire the dignity of his pose.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2810 W: 35 N: 5713] (30466)
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