The old native land which was lost.

Sung by Yang Zhi.


The first section of this song suggests that some articles of the Miao tribal costume were worn as perpetual reminders of that ancient homeland which was taken by the Chinese. This cannot mean that the designs were actually invented for the purpose, since, in the preceding song of this group it is clear that the patterned costumes were in use long before, and that, in fact, the spoils of conquest which the Chinese put on display, included examples of them. It must mean that the existing tribal costumes were accorded this new significance, so that whenever people saw the aprons, capes and skirts, these were to become, for them, reminders of the good land now irrevocably lost.

It is noteworthy that the distinctive upper garment, the cho hlu, so much in evidence in the previous song, is not mentioned. The aprons were about two feet square and were embroidered. They were worn, one in the front and the other behind, over the skirt, and always with the diagonals vertical and horizontal. By 1950 these were less commonly seen, but photographs from earlier in the century show them as essential items of the well dressed young woman's outfit.

In cold weather the Miao used felt capes which also served as bedding at night. The material was very thick and the top edge was gathered by a cord threaded in and out. The garment had therefore the shape of a vertical cylinder which was wrinkled where it was drawn in at the top. It is this wrinkling which is here said to have resembled the undulating country around Lao-u and Rice City.

It was common practise for the Chinese to spread pine needles on the floor as an aromatic carpet at weddings or on festal occasions. The second half of the song purports to explain the origin of the custom.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

You can also see these pages as Word97 documents

Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

Return to Index of Songs
Return to First Page of the Archive