Chinese Nation – Bouyei

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Bouyei, a large minority in Southwest China, is spoken in the Bouyei language. The Sino Tibetan language belongs to the Zhuang Dai branch of the Zhuang Dong ethnic group. It is closely related to the Zhuang language and is commonly used in Chinese.
The Bouyei people evolved from the Liao people in ancient times, mainly in agriculture. The ancestors of the Buyi people began to grow rice very early, which is known as the “rice nation”.
Bouyei people are mainly distributed in Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, and other provinces, among which Guizhou Province has the largest Buyi population, accounting for 97% of the national Buyi population. They mainly live in Qiannan and Qianxinan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefectures, as well as Anshun City, Guiyang city, and Liupanshui City. The rest of the cities, prefectures, and districts are scattered, and a small part of them live in Vietnam.


Bouyei language belongs to the Zhuang Dong language family of the Sino Tibetan language family and has a close kinship with the Zhuang language.
The northern dialect of the Zhuang language is basically the same as the Buyi language in Wangmo, Cheng, Dushan, Pingtang, Anlong, and Xingyi counties of Guizhou. Due to the long-term cultural contact and exchange between Bouyei and Han, there are many Chinese Loanwords in the vocabulary system of the Buyi language.
Bouyei language has a complete phonetic system, rich vocabulary, and expressive grammatical structure. Buyi language is divided into Qiannan, Qianzhong, and Qianxi (traditionally called the first, second, and third local language areas).
In the past, the Bouyei people did not have their own characters and generally used Chinese. In Bouyei Mo scriptures, they used Chinese characters to record sounds or radicals to create some new characters according to the “six books” method to record scriptures. In 1956, the Central People’s government organized experts to create a Latin alphabet-based Buyi Pinyin program. The plan has been revised twice, and now it is mainly implemented in the Bouyei areas.


Bouyei people take rice as their staple food and eat corn, wheat, red barnyard grass, buckwheat, etc.
Bouyei people especially like glutinous food, and there are a variety of production methods, such as making glutinous rice cake, round sugar rice cake, earpiece rice cake, pillow rice dumpling, and triangle rice dumpling. Every new year, we must eat glutinous rice, and present glutinous rice cake to relatives and friends. Festival also like to eat flower juice and leaf juice dyed colored “glutinous rice”.
Nonstaple foods include vegetables, beans, and meat. Vegetable processing products are famous “Dushan hydrochloric acid”, “sour pepper” and so on. Meat processing includes smoked and cured meat and sausage; like to eat dog meat, different processing methods, unique flavor, more famous are “Huajiang dog meat”, “Duyun stewed dog meat”, “Cheng dog meat feast” and so on. Bean products mainly include Douchi, tofu, blood tofu, etc.
Pepper, pickled cabbage, and sour soup are indispensable in daily life.
Bouyei family can brew glutinous rice wine and rice, corn wine. Some places also produce glutinous rice cellar wine, Yanren rice wine, sugar wine, etc., which are quite characteristic. Some rice wine is brewed with wild Ceratoides fruit, which is rich in nutrition and is used to entertain distinguished guests. The brewing technology of Chenopodium album wine has a history of hundreds of years.
Bouyei traditional food

Clothes & Accessories

Bouyei people’s clothes are mostly blue and white.
Before the 1970s, men wore headscarves, blouses, and trousers. The old man has many long clothes.
After the 1970s, men’s clothing is no different from Han clothing. There are many styles of women’s costumes. At present, the Buyi Nationality’s older costumes are still preserved in Zhenning, Guanling, Pudding, and Liupanshui. They are big-bodied short clothes, neckline, pan shoulder, sleeve, and hem, all inlaid with brocade and batik geometric patterns. They wear pleated skirts, sewn with blue Batik cloth on a white background, and wear various silver jewelry. Women’s clothing of Buyi Nationality in Qianxinan Prefecture and Luodian County of Qiannan Prefecture are generally big breasted clothes with long trouser legs; the shoulders, cuffs, and lapels of the clothes are inlaid with blue trunks; the trouser legs are big frills, or the blue trouser legs are inlaid with blue cloth and blue trunks. The length of clothes and the size of trouser legs vary from region to region. Self-made brocade and batik are the main characteristics of Bouyei costumes.
Bouyei women pay attention to headwear. Before marriage, they wear braided hair and embroidered headscarves. After marriage, they need to use bamboo shoot shells as a special decoration for “skeleton”, which means to become a family. In Zhenning and Guanling areas, girls like to wear a high bun, which is shaped like an arch bridge. There is a silver hairpin about feet long on their hair. They wear short clothes, long skirts and embroidered cloth shoes. They walk with the elegant charm. In other areas, they often wear short clothes and trousers or wear batik or embroidery lace on the skirts, necklines, and trouser legs. Women in the Anlong and Xingren areas of Southwest Guizhou like to use white cloth as headscarves and wear embroidered waistbands of various colors. They are simple and elegant. Silver, jade bracelets, hairpins, rings, collars, and other accessories are popular among Buyi women, and their styles are unique.
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