The Jinuo Nationality
The Jinuo nationality was not ascertained until 1980. The population of the Jinuo us only 18,000. They live in compact communities in the Jinuo mountain area of Jinghong municipality in Xishuangbanna Prefecture. Some are distributed in Mengla and Menghai counties. They called themselves "Jinuo" which means the offspring of the uncles. But they were called "Youle "by others. Their ancestors were one branch of the ancient Qiang people. Their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the Sino-Tibetan Language Family (Yi Branch). They have no writing system, and use Han characters.
Before Liberation, the Jinuo nationality still remained at the stage of the late primitive commune. And there was also the trace of their past matriarchal society. The traditional houses were wood or bamboo houses with straw roofs. There was also the "Big House" in Jinou village where several generations of the patriarchal families lived. Every village had a "Zhuoba" (the male head of the village) and a "Zhuosheng" (the female head of the village ) who were in charge of the affairs of the village. But with the development of productivity and the increase of consumption, the "Big House " system has disappeared.
The Jinuo people believe in primitive religion. They worship the sun and have their costumes and bags embroidered with the patterns of the sun. The Sun Drum is their important religious tool and Sun Drum Dance is their unique dance. Their principal festival is the New Rice Festival celebrated after each autumn harvest. But the grandest one is the Temuoke festival that falls in December or January on the lunar calendar. On this occasion, people kill oxen to offer a sacrifice to Heaven. They sing and dance to the music of the Sun Drum. Since the festival is a time for people to caste farm tools for the next farming season, it is also called the Iron-Casting festival.
The costumes of the Jonuo people are simple. The men usually wear white collarless coats, the backs of which are embroidered with patterns of the sun. They wear loose trousers. The women wear collarless seven-color short skirts, and triangle-shaped white linen hats.