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Why Do The Chinese “Long Horn” Miao People have A Big, Long Horn?

07.23.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

Inhabiting southwest China, the Miao minority group is well known for their elaborate silver jewelry. Throughout centuries of migration, the Miao have been divided into various tribes. The Long Horn Miao is one of them.nnThe Long Horn Miao get their name because of a large wooden horn that they use to decorate their hair. During holidays, women twist hair left by their ancestors with black wool around the horn to make a big, spectacular headdress that weighs 3-6 kilograms.nnAbout 5,000 Long Horn Miao people live in a village called Suojia. They lead a simple, pristine life just as their forefathers did thousands of years ago. Before 1994, the village was unknown to the world.[I:43:J]nnThe Long Horn Miao build their houses out of couch grass and dirt. Men farm and go hunting, while women spend their time on spinning, weaving cloth, making batik, and doing embroidery. nnThey have a long tradition of worshiping pheasants, as they believe pheasants helped their ancestors find corn seeds and survive in the mountainous areas. This is reflected in the women’s colorful garments. The designs on their shirts and pleated skirts imitates the feathers of a pheasant. Their black felt aprons and white leg wrappings look like the bird’s breast and legs.nnWhy do the local people like to put a big wooden horn in their hair? When their king died in war, they would place bows and arrows in their hair and swear to revenge the king. This custom was kept for centuries. Gradually they developed a habit of adorning their hair with a large horn.nnWhen women comb their hair, they will keep the fallen hair and spin it with wool. They will hand this collection down to their daughters as a dowry. A famous hair bun kept in the local museum is made of hair from five generations of women. It weighs about 6 kilograms.[I:44:J]nnThese headdresses made of hair and black wool can reach about 15 cm high, with both ends dropping down to the shoulders. The local women will spend over 1 hour preparing their headdress for the holidays.nnSoujia has been attracting people from all over the world since the mid-1990’s. The tourists are fascinated by the colorful culture of the Long Horn Miao, and also appalled by their poverty. In a local home, you can’t find a good piece of furniture, let alone a TV set, a washing machine, or any silver jewelry.

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