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a people living chiefly in southern China (Hunan, Kweichow, Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region, Szechwan, and Yunnan) in five isolated groups, each having its own self-designation (Kusu, Hmu, Hmong, Amoyi, Kame). Some Miao live in countries of Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma), where they are called Meo. Total population, about 4 million (1970, estimate). The Miao speak a language of the Miao-Yao group. Their religion is shamanism.

The Miao are one of the oldest peoples of Southeast Asia. Their historical region of origin was Kweichow. Ancestors of the Miao lived in southern China as early as the second millennium B.C.. The Miao moved from China to Southeast Asia during the 13th through 15th centuries. Their chief occupation is agriculture (cultivation of maize, buckwheat, and irrigated rice); they also raise draft animals (buffalo). The Miao are known for their songs and dances and for their fine jewelry and embroideries.


Its, R. F. Etnicheskaia istoriia iuga Vostochnoi Azii. Leningrad, 1972.
Narody Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
References in periodicals archive ?
After that it took hundreds of years of fighting under Emperors Zhuan, Ku, Yao, Shun and Yu until the Miaos retreated to the South and hid in their old
Aside from the scarcity of information, a more important reason for such an overlap to occur in people's minds was perhaps the belief in the similarity between the Miaos and the native Americans, as they were both seen as displaced "barbarians".
It is generally accepted in academic circles that the earliest historical documentation about the origin of the contemporary Miao--other than the legendary story about San Miao during the antiquity of the Yao Yu period--can be traced back to The Book on Barbarians (Manshu) written by Fan Chuo during the Tang dynasty (618-907).
In regions that remained for a long time outside the imperial rule, controlled by neither tusi nor imperial administrators (liuguan)--such as the La'ershan "Hong Miao" region at the border between northeastern Guizhou and western Hunan, the "Hei Miao" region located in the Qingshui and Duliu River valleys in southeastern Guizhou, and the "Zhong Miao" and "Qing Miao" regions in southwestern Guizhou--direct imperial control was achieved through force, or in other words, "by exploring the Miao territory.
Miao-Han Relations and the "De-Miao-ification" ("fei Miao hua") Phenomenon in Mid- and Late-Qing Periods
11) During the Daoguang reign (1820-1850), Luo Raodian, in his Qiannan zhifang jilue, listed 52 kinds of Miao in the Guizhou region.
In some Miao regions that neighbored with Han regions, such as certain Miao regions in western Hunan, there were even cases of bribery from Miao people to Han local lords, so that they could be registered as Han and their villages could be changed to Han regions.
When addressed as Miao, they will stare back hostilely.