China's Minority Peoples – The Drungs

The Drungs, with a population of 5.817, mainly live in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, and along the banks of the Dulong River in Gongshan Drung-Nu Autonomous County in the northwest Yunnan Province.

In the past, the Drungs have no general appellation. They named themselves by rivers or places such as "Dulong" and "Dina". The Hans called them the Qiu, Qiuzi or Qu people. After the founding of new China, they took the name Drang.

During the Spring Festival, a bull is usually killed by a Drung young man, as others beat gongs and dance with knives and swords in hands.

The Drung area borders on Zayu of Tibet in the north and Burma in the southwest in the east is the 5,000-meter-high Gaoligong Mountain, through which flow the swift currents of the Dulong River. From the bottom of deep valley to the top of high mountains, the climate changes vertically, so do the species of plants. In winter, this river valley is completely cut off by snow, while in summer; it is humid and rainy because of the tropical monsoon from the Indian Ocean.

Drung society had long been primitive owing to the semi-locked location. Slash-and-bum farming was prevalent. Gathering and hunting are important parts of the economy.

The Drung language, without a script, is an independent branch of the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan family. Some Drungs speak Chinese.

The Drungs by nature are diligent, brave and simple-minded. They keep their promises and have good credit. They never use locks for safety. The barns are simply marked by crossed branches and free from stealing. In addition, the Drungs are hospitable and willing to help others. once a family is in difficulty, other villagers offer their generous aids without any hesitation. Today, though the modem life has changed the Drungs quite a lot their fine traditions remain.


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