The Miao homeland of Nzhi-mi-li.

Sung by Zhu Zhai-ming.


In most of the songs of conflict and migration the activities of various clans are personalized and described as the actions of the Elder or Leader of the clan. So we read of the doings of the Elder Gi-vu, the Elder Gi-no, the Man Li-dao and a number of others. This song does not mention any leader by name, but the group is represented in the persons of a senior couple who are called simply "Ni-bo" and "Ni-yeu", "the Woman" and "the Man".

Different Miao clans in describing their ancient homeland used different names for the same places. Thus the great river was called by some, "Yi-bang", by others, "Ndu-na-yi-mo", and by yet others, "Ngga-yi-shi-lw", while the circular capital city appears variously as "Lao-gu", Lao-u", and "Lao-gi-jiai". These variations caused difficulties for later singers when transmitting the story. Thus the singer of the present song knew that the Miao had been driven away from Nzhi-mi-li by the Chinese, and knew also, from another source, that they had been driven away from the plain of the Ngga-yi-shi-lw, but not realizing that these were simply two accounts of the same episode, recorded them as two separate events.

In line 53, without any explanation, we are told that, because of the harsh treatment they were receiving at the hands of the Lord Shi-byu, the Miao followed the Lady-bride to the estates of the Lord Gha-sao. This migration is described in detail in a whole series of songs. They tell how the Lord Gha-sao had made a successful application to the Lord Shi-byu for the hand of his daughter in marriage. When she was about to leave for her new home, with promises of more tolerable conditions and reduced rents, the Lady-bride succeeded in persuading the Miao living on her father's lands to abandon their homes and move with her to her new husband's estates. It was arranged that they should flee suddenly and by night, so that they were gone before the Lord Shi-byu was able to do anything to stop them.

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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