Namuyi Profile

Autonym: na53 mʑi53

Other names: na mzɿ, Namyi, Namuzi, 纳木依,纳木义,纳木日,纳木兹,纳木汝

About 5000 Namuyi Tibetans make their home in the area around the meandering Yalong River between Jiulong County and Xichang City District. Their traditional oral Qiangic language is still quite prevalent when they speak among themselves. Along the main thoroughfares and in the main population centers, however, the contemporary Namuyi commonly interact with the Nuosu (Yi) and Han Chinese. Here, the Namuyi almost all speak Nuosu and the Sichuan dialect of Chinese as well as their own language, but very few Nuosu or Han Chinese residents of these communities reciprocate in speaking or being able to understand Namuyi. The Namuyi traditionally find marriage partners from within their own clans or sometimes among other Tibetan groups, whereas marriage to Nuosu or Han Chinese would be frowned upon. The autonym “na53 mʑi53” simply means “Tibetan” to Namuyi people in their language. Hence, Namuyi people actually refer to all Tibetans as "Namuyi". 

The Bon religion still holds quite an influence over the Namuyi, though they themselves have no temples or systemized forms in their homeland. Namuyi people mainly worship nature, including the sun, the moon, mountains, fire and even stones, and most villages revere a holy mountain or holy tree (7). The Namuyi invite highly respected shamans to perform religious rituals in their homes or at their holy sites when there is sickness, death or some natural calamity in the village, or on special days such as weddings or the New Year.

Traditionally, Namuyi men don long knee-length white gowns made from hemp, and colorful sleeveless jackets, while the foreheads of Namuyi women are adorned with silver jewelry. Both men and women use long strips of black cloth to wrap around their heads into a turban, a style totally different from people of the main Tibetan ethnic groups further west. Today, however, most young Namuyi only wear traditional clothing during festivals(8). namuyi