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Dancing Costumes of Chinese Ethnic Groups - Bai Zu (白族)
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People of the Bai Ethnic Minority mainly live in Dali, Lijiang, Bijiang, Baoshan, Nanhua, Yuanjiang, Kunming, and Anning of Yunnan Province, Bijie of Guizhou Province, Liangshan of Sichuan Province, and Sanzhi of Hunan Province. The population of the Bai nationality is 185,800.

Today's Bai are descendants of the ancient Ji. During the pre-Qin period (about 2,200 years ago), the Ji inhabited the drainage area of the Huangshui River. However, during the Han and Jin Dynasties, they scattered along the eastern side of the Lanchangjiang River in Yunnan Province and the northern Honghe River area. During this time, they lived with the Qiang people (another nationality in China). Gradually, the Ji concentrated in fewer areas. Since the Northern and Southern Dynasties, the Ji have been known as the Bai.

The Bai costume has a long history. As long as 1,800 years ago, the Bai wove a kind of cloth known as "Tonghua". During the Nanzhao Regime and the Dali Kingdom, the Bai created their own styles of clothing. Now, the clothes of the Bai people are bright and well-matching in colors, delicate and fine in embroideries, and plain and simple in style.

Bai clothing is usually adorned with camellia flowers because they view these flowers as a symbol of beauty. The Bai enjoy their lives and love flowers. They like to wear a red scarf on their shoulders and a white outer upper garment, a combination that resembles blooming camellias.

White is the favorite color of the Bai. They believe that white represents dignity and high social status, and this can be seen in their clothes. It is typical for men to wear white outer upper garments and white trousers. Girls and women have more choices of colors. They like to wear white, light blue or pink outer upper garments and rosy, purple or black waistcoats.
An unmarried girl always combs her hair into one pigtail, tied with a red string at its end, and then coils it over her head. She also likes to wear an apron with embroideries. In general, girls enjoy dressing up like beautiful camellia flowers.

The scarf on a girl's head is special and has a special name, "the flower in the wind and the moon on a snowy night." The overall shape of the scarf on a girl's head is that of a crescent. The upper part of the scarf is as white as snow. The embroideries on the lower part are of flowers. The tail of the scarf falls down naturally on one shoulder, waving to and fro in the wind.
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