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Hmongb / Hmub / Xongb / ab Hmaob
m?o / mu? / ?o / am?ao
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States||247,595 (2010)|
|Hmongic languages, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Tai-Kadai languages (Lao and Thai), French|
|Miao folk religion. Minorities: Taoism, Atheism, Irreligion, Christianity, Buddhism|
The Miao are a minority ethnic group living in southern China, and are recognized by the government of China as one of the 56 official ethnic groups. Miao is a Chinese term, while the component groups of people, which include (with some variant spellings) Hmong, Hmu, Xong (Qo-Xiong), and A-Hmao, may have their own self-designations.
The different peoples in the "Miao" group may not necessarily be either linguistically or culturally related, but the majority are speakers of languages in the Miao-Yao language family, which includes the Hmong, Hmub, Xong and A-Hmao dialects and the majority do share cultural similarities. Many Miao groups cannot communicate with each other in their native tongues and have different histories and cultures. Many groups designated as Miao do not even agree that they belong to the ethnic group, though some Miao groups, such as the Hmong do agree [this claim is unfounded or needs substantial evidence] with the collective grouping as a single ethnic group - Miao.
The Miao live primarily in southern China's mountains, in the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan. Some sub-groups of the Miao, most notably the Hmong people, have migrated out of China into Southeast Asia (Burma (Myanmar), northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand). Following the communist takeover of Laos in 1975, a large group of Hmong refugees resettled in several Western nations, mainly in the United States, France, and Australia.
The term "Miao" gained official status in 1949 as a minzu (ethnic group) encompassing a group of linguistically-related ethnic minorities in Southwest China. This was part of a larger effort to identify and classify minority groups to clarify their role in the national government, including establishing autonomous administrative divisions and allocating the seats for representatives in provincial and national government.
Historically, the term "Miao" had been applied inconsistently to a variety of non-Han peoples. Early Chinese-based names use various transcriptions: Miao, Miao-tse, Miao-tsze, Meau, Meo, mo, Miao-tseu etc. In Southeast Asian contexts, words derived from the Chinese "Miao" took on a sense which was perceived as derogatory by the subgroups living in that region. The term re-appeared in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), by which time it had taken on the connotation of "barbarian." Being a variation of Nanman, it was used to refer to the indigenous people in southern China who had not been assimilated into Han culture. During this time, references to Unfamiliar (? Sheng) and Familiar (? Shu) Miao appear, referring to the level of assimilation and political cooperation of the two groups, making them easier to classify. Not until the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) do more finely grained distinctions appear in writing. Even then, discerning which ethnic groups are included in various classifications can be complex. There has been a historical tendency by the Hmong, who resisted assimilation and political cooperation, to group all Miao peoples together [this claim is unfounded or needs substantial evidence] under the term Hmong because of the potential derogatory use of the term Miao. In modern China, however, the term continues to be used regarding the Miao people there.
Though the Miao themselves use various self-designations, the Chinese traditionally classify them according to the most characteristic color of the women's clothes. The list below contains some of these self-designations, the color designations, and the main regions inhabited by the four major groups of Miao in China:
According to the 2000 census, the number of Miao in China was estimated to be about 9.6 million. Outside of China, members of the Miao sub-group or nations of the Hmong live in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Burma due to outward migrations starting in the 18th century. As a result of recent migrations in the aftermath of the Indochina and Vietnam Wars from 1949-75, many Hmong people now live in the United States, French Guiana, France and Australia. Altogether, there are approximately 10 million speakers in the Miao language family. This language family, which consists of 6 languages and around 35 dialects (some of which are mutually intelligible) belongs to the Hmong/Miao branch of the Hmong-Mien (Miao-Yao) language family.
A large population of the Hmong have emigrated to the northern mountainous reaches of Southeast Asia including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma. However, many continue to live in far Southwest China mostly in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, and to a very limited extent in Guizhou.
Most Miao currently live in China. Miao population growth in China:
3,600,000 Miao, about half of the entire Chinese Miao population, were in Guizhou in 1990. The Guizhou Miao and those in the following six provinces make up over 98% of all Chinese Miao:
In the above provinces, there are 6 Miao autonomous prefectures (shared officially with one other ethnic minority):
There are in addition 23 Miao autonomous counties:
Most Miao reside in hills or on mountains, such as
Several thousands of Miao left their homeland to move to larger cities like Guangzhou and Beijing. There are 789,000 Hmong spread throughout northern Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and on other continents. 174,000 live in Thailand, where they are one of the six main hill tribes.
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According to Tang dynasty myth, miao people originated from Chi You. However, the oldest text known as The Tai Kung Six Secret Teachings that include Huang Di and Chi You (in short description) does not mention about who are the descendants of these two. No classic in Zhou dynasty mentions Chi You as the ancestor of Miao people. Hence, there are a big time gap between Tang and Zhou dynasty; approximately 1,500 years apart. There are no actual evidence that Chi You is Miao. During the communist cultural revolution, some historical texts and sites were destroyed, which left little evidence proving that Chi You was Miao. Nor can the modern Chinese authorities back their proof that Miao people are descendants of Chi You. However, according to the Tang dynasty myth, the Miao who descended from the Jiuli tribe led by Chiyou (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) were defeated at the Battle of Zhuolu (; , a defunct prefecture on the border of present provinces of Hebei and Liaoning) by the military coalition of Huang Di (; ) and Yan Di, leaders of the Huaxia (; ) tribe as the two tribes struggled for supremacy of the Yellow River valley.
According to André-Georges Haudricourt and David Strecker's claims based on limited secondary data, the Miao were among the first people to settle in present-day China. They claim that the Han borrowed a lot of words from the Miao in regard to rice farming. This indicated that the Miao were among the first rice farmers in China. In addition, some have connected the Miao to the Daxi Culture (5,300 - 6,000 years ago) in the middle Yangtze River region. The Daxi Culture has been credited with being amongst the first cultivators of rice in the Far East by Western scholars. However, in 2006 rice cultivation was found to have existed in the Shandong province even earlier than the Daxi Culture. Though the Yuezhuang culture has cultivated rice, it is more of collected wild rice and not actual cultivated and domesticated rice like that of the Daxi.
A western study mention that the Miao (especially the Miao-Hunan) have some DNA from the Northeast people of China, but has origins in southern china. Recent DNA samples of Miao males contradict this theory. The White Hmong have 25% C, 8% D, & 6% N(Tat) yet they have the least contact with the Han population.
The term Miao was first used by the Han Chinese in pre-Qin times (in other words, before 221 BC) for designating non-Han Chinese groups in the south. It was often used in combination: "nanmiao", "miaomin", "youmiao" and "Three Miaos" (;)
During the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911) 'miao' and 'man' were both used, the second possibly to designate the Yao (?; ) people. The Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties could neither fully assimilate nor control the indigenous people.
During the Miao Rebellions, when Miao tribes rebelled, Ming troops, including Han Chinese, Hui people, crushed the rebels, killing thousands of them. Mass castrations of Miao boys also took place.
During the Qing Dynasty the Miao fought three wars against the empire. The issue was so serious that the Yongzheng emperor sent one of his most officials, Ortai, to be the Viceroy of the provinces with significant Miao populations in 1726, and through 1731, he spent his time putting down rebellions. In 1735 in the southeastern province of Guizhou, the Miao rose up against the government's forced assimilation. Eight counties involving 1,224 villages fought until 1738 when the revolt ended. According to Xiangtan University Professor Wu half the Miao population were affected by the war.
The greatest of the three wars occurred from 1854 to 1873. Zhang Xiu-mei led this revolt in Guizhou until his capture and death in Changsha, Hunan. This revolt affected over one million people and all the neighbouring provinces. By the time the war ended Professor Wu said only 30 percent of the Miao were left in their home regions. This defeat led to the Hmong people migrating out of China.
During Qing times, more military garrisons were established in southwest China. Han Chinese soldiers moved into the Taijiang region of Guizhou, married Miao women, and the children were brought up as Miao. In spite of rebellion against the Han, Hmong leaders made allies with Han merchants.
The imperial government had to rely on political means to bring in Hmong people into the government: they created multiple competing positions of substantial prestige for Miao people to participate and assimilate into the Qing government system. During the Ming and Qing times, the official position of Kiatong was created in Indochina. The Miao would employ the use of the Kiatong government structure until the 1900s when they entered into French colonial politics in Indochina.
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During the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Miao played an important role in its birth when they helped Mao Zedong to escape the Kuomintang in the Long March with supplies and guides through their territory.
In Vietnam, a powerful Hmong named Vuong Chinh Duc, dubbed the king of the Hmong, aided Ho Chi Minh's nationalist move against the French, and thus secured the Hmong's position in Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, Miao fought on both sides, the Hmong in Laos primarily for the US, across the border in Vietnam for the North-Vietnam coalition, the Chinese-Miao for the Communists. However, after the war the Vietnamese were very aggressive towards the Hmong who suffered many years of reprisals and genocide. Most Hmong in Thailand also supported a brief Communist uprising during the war.
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Some of the origins of the Hmong and Miao clan names are a result of the marriage of Hmong women to Han Chinese men, with distinct Han Chinese-descended clans and lineages practicing Han Chinese burial customs. These clans were called "Han Chinese Hmong" ("Hmong Sua") in Sichuan, and were instructed in military tactics by fugitive Han Chinese rebels. Such Chinese "surname groups" are comparable to the patrilineal Hmong clans and also practice exogamy.
Han Chinese male soldiers who fought against the Miao rebellions during the Qing and Ming dynasties were known to have married with non-Han women such as the Miao because Han women were less desirable. The Wang clan, founded among the Hmong in Gongxian county of Sichuan's Yibin district, is one such clan and can trace its origins to several such marriages around the time of the Ming dynasty suppression of the Ah rebels. Nicholas Tapp wrote that, according to The Story of the Ha Kings in the village, one such Han ancestor was Wang Wu. It is also noted that the Wang typically sided with the Chinese, being what Tapp calls "cooked" as opposed to the "raw" peoples who rebelled against the Chinese.
Hmong women who married Han Chinese men founded a new Xem clan among Northern Thailand's Hmong. Fifty years later in Chiangmai two of their Hmong boy descendants were Catholics. A Hmong woman and Han Chinese man married and founded northern Thailand's Lau2, or Lauj, clan, , with another Han Chinese man of the family name Deng founding another Hmong clan. Some scholars believe this lends further credence to the idea that some or all of the present day Hmong clans were formed in this way.
Jiangxi Han Chinese are claimed by some as the forefathers of the southeast Guizhou Miao, and Miao children were born to the many Miao women married Han Chinese soldiers in Taijiang in Guizhou before the second half of the 19th century.
Some imperially commissioned Han Chinese chieftaincies assimilated with the Miao. Those became the ancestors of a part of the Miao population in Guizhou.
The Hmong Tian clan in Sizhou began in the seventh century as a migrant Han Chinese clan.
The origin of the Tunbao people traces back to the Ming dynasty when the Hongwu Emperor sent 300,000 Han Chinese male soldiers in 1381 to conquer Yunnan, with some of the men marrying Yao and Miao women.
The presence of women presiding over weddings was a feature noted in "Southeast Asian" marriages, such as in 1667 when a Miao woman in Yunnan married a Chinese official. Some Sinicization occurred, in Yunnan a Miao chief's daughter married a scholar in the 1600s who wrote that she could read, write, and listen in Chinese and read Chinese classics.
|Province-level division||% of mainland China's
|% of provincial total|
|Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region||5.18%||1.056%|
(Only includes counties or county-equivalents containing >0.25% of mainland China's Miao population.)
|Province-level division||Prefecture-level division||County-level division||Miao population||% of population||% of mainland China's|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Kaili City ()||274,238||49.5%||3.07%|
|Chongqing Municipality||Pengshui Miao and Tujia A. C. (?)||273,488||50.2%||3.06%|
|Hunan||Huaihua City||Mayang Miao A. C. (?)||263,437||76.7%||2.95%|
|Guizhou||Tongren City||Songtao Miao A. C. (?)||228,718||47%||2.56%|
|Hunan||Huaihua City||Yuanling County ()||217,613||37.4%||2.43%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Huayuan County ()||192,138||66.7%||2.15%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Fenghuang County ()||185,111||52.9%||2.07%|
|Hunan||Shaoyang City||Suining County ()||184,784||51.8%||2.07%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Liuzhou City||Rongshui Miao A. C. (?)||168,591||41.9%||1.89%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Huangping County ()||161,211||61.3%||1.8%|
|Guizhou||Zunyi City||Wuchuan Gelao and Miao A. C. (?)||157,350||48.9%||1.76%|
|Hunan||Shaoyang City||Chengbu Miao A. C. (?)||136,943||46.9%||1.53%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Taijiang County ()||135,827||81.2%||1.52%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Congjiang County ()||129,626||44.6%||1.45%|
|Guizhou||Liupanshui City||Shuicheng County () (incl. Zhongshan District)||126,319||17.9%||1.41%|
|Hunan||Huaihua City||Jingzhou Miao and Dong A. C. ()||114,641||46.8%||1.28%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Ziyun Miao and Buyei A. C. (?)||114,444||42.3%||1.28%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Jianhe County ()||112,950||62.6%||1.26%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Jishou City ()||112,856||37.4%||1.26%|
|Guizhou||Tongren City||Sinan County ()||112,464||22.5%||1.26%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Leishan County ()||110,413||93.0%||1.24%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Luxi County ()||107,301||39.3%||1.2%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Tianzhu County ()||106,387||40.3%||1.19%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Danzhai County ()||104,934||85.7%||1.17%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Rongjiang County ()||96,503||27.5%||1.08%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Huishui County ()||91,215||26.6%||1.02%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Guangnan County ()||88,444||0.99%|
|Chongqing Municipality||Youyang Tujia and Miao A. C. (?)||85,182||0.95%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Bose City||Longlin Various Nationalities A. C. (?)||84,617||0.95%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Zhijin County ()||81,029||0.91%|
|Yunnan||Honghe Hani and Yi A. P.||Jinping Miao, Yao, and Dai A. C. ()||80,820||0.9%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Xixiu District ()||79,906||0.89%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Jinping County ()||78,441||0.88%|
|Guizhou||Zunyi City||Daozhen Gelao and Miao A. C. (?)||76,658||0.86%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Liping County ()||75,718||0.85%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Maguan County ()||73,833||0.83%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Nayong County ()||72,845||0.81%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Duyun City ()||71,011||0.79%|
|Hubei||Enshi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Laifeng County ()||70,679||0.79%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Majiang County ()||68,847||0.77%|
|Chongqing Municipality||Xiushan Tujia and Miao A. C. (?)||66,895||0.75%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Shibing County ()||66,890||0.75%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Qiubei County ()||66,826||0.75%|
|Guizhou||Guiyang City||Huaxi District ()||62,827||0.7%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Longshan County ()||61,709||0.69%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Qianxi County ()||60,409||0.68%|
|Yunnan||Honghe Hani and Yi A. P.||Pingbian Miao A. C. (?)||60,312||0.67%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Weining Yi, Hui, and Miao A. C. ()||60,157||0.67%|
|Chongqing Municipality||Qianjiang District ()||59,705||0.67%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Baojing County ()||57,468||0.64%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Wenshan County ()||57,303||0.64%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Guzhang County ()||54,554||0.61%|
|Hubei||Enshi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Lichuan City ()||53,590||0.6%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Qinglong County ()||53,205||0.6%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Liuzhou City||Sanjiang Dong A. C. (?)||53,076||0.59%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Dafang County ()||52,547||0.59%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Yanshan County ()||51,624||0.58%|
|Guizhou||Liupanshui City||Liuzhi Special District (?)||50,833||0.57%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Changshun County ()||48,902||0.55%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Fuquan City ()||48,731||0.55%|
|Yunnan||Honghe Hani and Yi A. P.||Mengzi County ()||48,132||0.54%|
|Guizhou||Tongren City||Bijiang District ()||47,080||0.53%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Malipo County (?)||45,655||0.51%|
|Yunnan||Zhaotong City||Yiliang County ()||44,736||0.5%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Pingba County ()||44,107||0.49%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Sandu Shui A. C. (?)||43,464||0.49%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Guiding County ()||42,450||0.47%|
|Guizhou||Tongren City||Yinjiang Tujia and Miao A. C. (?)||42,431||0.47%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Longli County ()||40,096||0.45%|
|Guizhou||Guiyang City||Qingzhen City ()||39,845||0.45%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Wangmo County ()||39,491||0.44%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Qixingguan District (?)||38,508||0.43%|
|Hunan||Xiangxi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Yongshun County ()||37,676||0.42%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Hezhang County ()||37,128||0.42%|
|Yunnan||Zhaotong City||Weixin County ()||36,293||0.41%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Sansui County ()||35,745||0.4%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Luodian County ()||35,463||0.4%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Zhenning Buyei and Miao A. C. (?)||34,379||0.38%|
|Hubei||Enshi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Xuan'en County ()||34,354||0.38%|
|Hunan||Huaihua City||Huitong County ()||33,977||0.38%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Anlong County ()||32,926||0.37%|
|Guizhou||Bijie City||Jinsha County ()||31,884||0.36%|
|Sichuan||Luzhou City||Xuyong County ()||30,362||0.34%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Puding County ()||30,254||0.34%|
|Sichuan||Yibin City||Xingwen County ()||30,020||0.34%|
|Guizhou||Anshun City||Guanling Buyei and Miao A. C. (?)||29,746||0.33%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Bose City||Xilin County ()||28,967||0.32%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Guilin City||Ziyuan County ()||27,827||0.31%|
|Hubei||Enshi Tujia and Miao A. P.||Xianfeng County ()||27,668||0.31%|
|Guizhou||Guiyang City||Nanming District ()||27,460||0.31%|
|Yunnan||Zhaotong City||Zhenxiong County ()||26,963||0.3%|
|Yunnan||Wenshan Zhuang and Miao A. P.||Funing County ()||26,396||0.3%|
|Guangdong||Dongguan City||Dongguan District ()||26,241||0.29%|
|Guizhou||Tongren City||Jiangkou County ()||25,588||0.29%|
|Guizhou||Liupanshui City||Pan County ()||25,428||0.28%|
|Guangxi Zhuang A. R.||Guilin City||Longsheng Various Nationalities A. C. (?)||24,841||0.28%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Xingren County ()||24,130||0.27%|
|Hunan||Huaihua City||Zhijiang Dong A. C. (?)||23,698||0.27%|
|Yunnan||Honghe Hani and Yi A. P.||Kaiyuan City ()||23,504||0.26%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Zhenfeng County ()||23,054||0.26%|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Pingtang County ()||22,980||0.26%|
|Guizhou||Qiandongnan Miao and Dong A. P.||Zhenyuan County ()||22,883||0.26%|
|Guizhou||Qianxinan Buyei and Miao A. P.||Pu'an County ()||22,683||0.25%|
|Guizhou||Guiyang City||Wudang District ()||22,468||0.25%|
|Other areas of mainland China||1,246,040||13.94%|
Compared to the Confucian principles traditionally exercised over women in some regions of China, the Miao culture is generally less strict in categorization of women's roles in society. Miao women exercise relatively more independence, mobility and social freedom. They are known to be strong willed and politically minded. They actively contribute to their communities in social welfare, education, arts and culture, and agricultural farming.
Miao women demonstrate great skill and artistry when making traditional clothing and handicrafts. They excel at embroidering, weaving, paper-cutting, batik, and intricate jewelry casting.
From vests, coats, hats, collars and cuffs, to full skirts, and baby carriers, the patterns on their clothes are extremely complicated and colorful with clean lines. Girls of around seven will learn embroidering from mothers and sisters, and by the time they are teenagers, they are quite deft. Additionally, Miao silver jewelry is distinctive for its design, style and craftsmanship. Miao silver jewelry is completely handmade, carved with fine decorative patterns. It's not easy to make and there is not one final masterpiece exactly the same as another. The Miao embroidery and silver jewelry are highly valued, delicate and beautiful.
Silver jewelry is a highly valuable craftwork of the Miao people. Apart from being a cultural tradition, it also symbolises the wealth of Miao women. As a Miao saying goes, "decorated with no silver or embroidery, a girl is not a girl", Miao women are occasionally defined by the amount of silver jewelry she wears or owns. It is especially important to wear heavy and intricate silver headdresses and jewelry during significant occasions and festivals, notably during weddings, funerals and springtime celebration. Silver jewelry is an essential element of Miao marriages, particularly to the bride. Miao families would begin saving silver jewellery for the girls at an early age, wishing their daughters could marry well with the large amount of silver jewelry representing the wealth of the family. Although a growing Miao population is moving from rural Miao regions to cities, the new generation respects the families' silver heritage and is willing to pass on the practice as a cultural tradition more than a showcase of family wealth.
Although Miao women are not strictly-governed, their social status is often seen as lower than that of men, as in most patriarchal societies. Be it in the subsistence economy or otherwise, men are the main economic force and provide the stable source of income for the family. Women are primarily involved in social welfare, domestic responsibilities, and additionally earn supplementary income.
As tourism became a major economic activity to this ethnic group, Miao women gained more opportunities to join the labor force and earn an income. Women mostly take up jobs that require modern day customer service skills; for example, working as tour guides, selling craftwork and souvenirs, teaching tourists how to make flower wreaths, and even renting ethnic costumes. These jobs require soft skills and hospitality and more visibility in public, but provide a low income. On the contrary, Miao men take up jobs that require more physical strengths and less visibility in public, such as engineering roads, building hotels, boats and pavilions. These jobs generally provide a more stable and profitable source of income.
The above example of unequal division of labor demonstrates, in spite of socioeconomic changes in China, men are still considered the financial backbone of the family.
While the Miao people have had their own unique culture, the Confucian ideology exerted significant influences on this ethnic group. It is expected that men are the dominant figures and breadwinners of the family, while women occupy more domestic roles(like cooking and cleaning). There are strict social standards on women to be "virtuous wives and good mothers", and to abide by "three obediences and four virtues", which include cultural moral specifications of women's behavior.
A Miao woman has some cultural freedom in marrying a man of her choice. However, like many other cultures in Asia, there are strict cultural practices on marriage, one being clan exogamy. It is a taboo to marry someone within the same family clan name, even when the couple are not blood related or from the same community.
In contrast to the common practice of the right of succession belonging to the firstborn son, the Miao's inheritance descends to the youngest son. The older sons leave the family and build their own residences, usually in the same province and close to the family. The youngest son is responsible for living with and caring for the aging parents, even after marriage. He receives a larger share of the family's inheritence and his mother's silver jewellery collection, which is used as bridal wealth or dowry.
Miao fish is a dish made by steaming fish with a mixture of fresh herbs, green peppers, ginger slices and garlic.