Chinese Name: 裕固族
English Name: The Yugur nationality, The Yugu people
Languages: Yugur language 裕固语, Chinese 汉语
Total population: 1.4*104 (China mainland 2022)
Distribution: Sunan Yugur Autonomous County in Gansu, China
The Yugur nationality 裕固族 live in the middle of the Hexi Corridor 河西走廊 in Gansu Province, mainly in the Sunan Yugur Autonomous County 肃南裕固族自治县 and Jiuquan 酒泉 Huangnibao area of Gansu Province. Most of the Yugur’s residential areas are located in the Qilian Mountains, with an average altitude of about 3,200 meters.
The Yugur nationality is a nationality mainly based on animal husbandry. The livestock species are mainly sheep, cattle and horses, and there are a small number of them. Minghua Township used to have a large number of camels.
The history of the Yugur nationality
The Yugur people originated from the Uighurs who were nomadic in the Orkhon River Basin in the Tang Dynasty 唐朝. In the middle of the 9th century, it collapsed due to heavy snow disasters and internal disputes within the ruling class, and external attacks by foreigners. Some groups moved westward, and one branch moved to the Hexi Corridor.
The mid-11th century to the 16th century was an important period for the gradual formation of the Yugur people. In the long-term historical process, a part of the Hexi Uyghur has lived with the surrounding Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Han and other ethnic groups for a long time, integrated with each other, and gradually developed into a community. In the Ming Dynasty 明朝, in order to facilitate their rule, the Yugurs moved eastward to settle near Suzhou 苏州.
The Yugur people have a glorious revolutionary tradition. In 1937, the Red Army entered the Yugur area of Qilian Mountain on the Long March, and with the strong support of the Yugur people, they jointly launched the struggle against the Kuomintang 国民党 army.
The religion of the Yugur nationality
The Yugurs believed in Shamanism 萨满教 and Manichaeism 摩尼教 before moving eastward. After moving eastward, the Yugur people converted to Tibetan Buddhism. Before the founding of New China, monasteries were the centres of religious activities and political and economic centres of various tribes.
The Cultures of the Yugur nationality
The architecture of Yugur nationality 裕固族的建筑
Before the founding of New China, in order to adapt to the nomadic life, the Yugurs mainly lived in tents. Yugur tents are sewn from cow hair or wool brown seeds. When setting up tents, choose a place sheltered from the wind and sunny, and most sit north to south. In the centre of the tent is a stove, a place for cooking and heating. The top of the tent is a skylight, which is opened during the day and covered at night or in rain and snow.
Since 1958, the pastoral areas of Sunan Yugur Autonomous County肃南裕固族自治县 have basically achieved a settlement, and herdsmen have lived in bungalows on the field in winter and spring. The elderly spend their old age here in peace, and the children can go to school nearby. Nowadays, many herdsmen have also built brick houses, and their living conditions are much improved than in the past.
The diet of Yugur nationality 裕固族的饮食
The diet of Yugur herdsmen is dominated by dairy products. There are usually three teas and one meal a day, namely, drink butter milk tea once in the morning, noon and afternoon. In the evening, the whole family eats a meal of mutton noodles or rice together, and sometimes also eats roasted buns and roasted flower rolls.
Hand-caught mutton is the favourite flavour food of the Yugur people. Hand grasping meat pays attention to the fact that the meat is just cooked and eaten out of the pot, and the meat eaten in this way is the most tender and delicious.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with the improvement of living standards, the Yugur herdsmen now have a great variety of diets, and the diet structure tends to be diversified. However, the habit of drinking milk tea has been preserved for a long time. The country especially transfers Compressed tea 砖茶 from Yiyang 益阳, Hunan every year to meet the needs of herdsmen.
The costume of Yugur nationality 裕固族的服饰
Yugur men wear felt hats, long robes with high collars, red and blue belts, and high boots. Married women wear trumpet-shaped white felt hats with two black borders on the front edge and a big red colour network on the top of the hat.
In the past, women also wore a long belt-shaped head face, which was inlaid with various ornaments to form a pattern. But the head is very heavy, and hanging on the hair is harmful to labour and health, and it has now been removed. With the change of the times, most of the Yugur men and women usually wear the popular clothing on the mainland and only wear traditional clothing during major festivals or festive activities.