The Yi slave woman.

Told by Yang Xiu-gong.


The Yi or Nosu, living along the border of Yunnan and Guizhou was a wealthy, land-owning tribe. It comprised two major groups, Black Yi and White Yi. The latter were serfs, and very often the slaves of the former. Occasionally a Miao might be taken as a slave as well, either directly by a landlord on whose estates the Miao were tenants, more often by brigands who caught and sold them into slavery.

The Miao word "zw" is used for every kind of robber from a petty thief to a brigand. Brigands and soldiers were regularly classed together. Both were feared by the common people, for there was little to choose between them in terms of cruelty and oppression.

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