Zie-li-dao of Gi-nzyu and Zie-lao-no from Lord Syu-gyu.

Sung by Tao Zi-gai.


The first forty-four lines of this song repeat the story of the flight of the Miao from their homeland. In this case two clans were involved. The Li-dao (Wang) clan was said to have arrived first, being joined later by the Lao-no (Yang) clan. Thereafter they moved as one.

The conventional words of line 45, "While the sky remained constant", mark the passage of many years, possibly of many generations, of migration. The clans eventually arrived in west Guizhou. The two rivers named in the song are identified in a footnote in the text as located north of the city of Weining. Here the clans were obliged to remain when two applications for permission to migrate westward into Yunnan Province were rejected by the Yi overlords Mu and Bw-bw who used to control the Zhaotung plain and all the country around about, before it was seized by the Chinese.

In the Miao text the two clan-leaders are given long, compound names, "Gi-nzyu-zie-li-dao" and "Zie-lao-no-syu-gyu-zyu-lao". The actual clan names are "Li-dao" and "Lao-no". To each of these has been added the word "zie" which means one of a pair of people or animals moving side by side, as a yoke of oxen or two folk walking abreast. In this song it signifies that the two clan-leaders were acting in partnership. "Gi-nzyu", in the first title, is also the name of a place. The songs often mention "The nine lakes of Gi-nzyu" which lay beyond the mountains far away to the east of the ancient homeland. Thus the first name probably means, "The partner Li-dao of Gi-nzyu". The second name begins, "The partner Lao-no", and ends with "zyu-lao". This is a title which is used in the songs for both the Chinese and the Yi. It means "Leader", "Military commander", or "Feudal lord", an important and powerful individual with large estates under his control . The second half of the name can thus be translated, "Lord Syu-gyu", so that the whole name becomes, "The partner Lao-no from Lord Syu-gyu", that is from the lands of Lord Syu-gyu. For the sake of brevity, even though the names still remain cumbersome, "zie", "partner", in each case has been left untranslated, so that the names appear as "Zie-li- dao of Gi-nzyu" and "Zie-lao-no from Lord Syu-gyu". Who Lord Syu-gyu may have been is further discussed in the introduction to "Concerning the Man Li-dao, section four".

Translation in verse
Literal Transcription

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Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

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