The Lahu ethnic minority lives mainly in Yunnan Province, South China. In the very early period, they lived a nomadic life. Later on, they followed the exuberant grassland southward, and settled in the drainage area of the Lancang River in the south. Their habiliment reflects the nomadic culture of the minority at the earlier stage, and also shows their farming style in modern times.
Taking Black as the Major Color
The Lahu people like black color. Thus, in most of their clothes, they use black cloth as the lining, add different patterns with colored thread or colored cloth, and then put the pure white robe on it, making the overall colors look both profound and vivid in contrast, letting us feel a boundless beauty.
Women Keep "Hunmao" (Hair of the Soul)
In the past, both Lahu males and females liked shaving their heads bald, but unmarried woman did not do so. After marriage, the woman would keep a lock of hair on the top of her head, called "Hunmao"(hair of the soul), so as to distinguish herself from a man. Nowadays, most young Lahu girls have begun to keep long hair or plait their hair, but those living in remote mountainous areas still keep the tradition of having their hair shaved. In their opinion, shaving the head bald is clean, comfortable, and a mark of feminine beauty.
The Preference to Wear Silver Ornaments
Both genders like wearing silver necklaces, earrings and bracelets; moreover, women may wear a big silver plate in front of the breast.
Knapsack as a Token of Love
In festivals or on occasions of dressing-up, both men and women like wearing a rectangular knapsack. The knapsack is made of a homemade blue cloth or woven with red-white colored thread, and is decorated with a shell or a colored pompon on it. When young people fall in love, the knapsack become a token of love, too, in addition to the embroidered pouch and the waistband.