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Ancient Songs of Miao People

Updated: 2006-11-21 14:55:29

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Year: 2006

Sort: Folk Literature

Area: Guizhou

Serial No.:Ⅰ-1

Declarer: Taijiang and Huangping Counties,Guizhou Province

The Miao ethnic people live in the southwest provinces of China. According to the dialects they speak, these provinces can be divided into the areas of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, westernHunan province, and eastern Guizhou province. The drainage area of the Qingshui River in the southeast region of Guizhou has the largest population of Miao in China, which include Kaili, Jianhe, Huangping, Taijiang, Leishan, Danzhai, Shibin,Zhenyuan, Sansui of Guizhou Province, Sanjiang,Guangxiprovince, and Jingxian, Hunan province. A kind of poetry legend, mainly about the genesis of the world and the Miao people, is very popular in these areas, and people call it the "ancient song."

The content of this ancient song is rich and colorful, and covers the birth of the world, the genesis of mankind and all the Earth's creatures, the flood in ancient times, the immigration of the Miao people, the Miao social system, and the day-to-day life of the Miao people. The ancient song is a confluence of all the ancient Miao legends.

The ancient song of the Miao people is usually played at formal occasions such as sacrifices, weddings, funerals, family parties, feasts, and festivals. Most of the singers are elders, and necromancers. The ancient song embodies the memory of the soul of the Miao people and the sutra, and acts as an encyclopedia of the Miaos' ancient society. It is very valuable in terms of history, ethnography, philosophy and anthropology. Now, this ancient song is still alive, and goes around among the people.

However, due to the rise of modern culture and the market economy, the ancient song of the Miao people is close to being lost. Take Taijiang, for example. Among the 30,000 Miao people that live in Taijiang, only a few can sing the ancient song in its entirety, and less than 200 can sing parts of it. Moreover, most of those singers are middle-aged or elderly people. As these singers get older and eventually pass away, the ancient song of the Miao people will disappear if we aren't careful.

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