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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 ?
yu jin jiu bei sheng jiao, jian xi huangfeng, you hu wei Miao zhe bi dong se, fanchun yi wei gou li").
From this scattered documentation in Han records, we can clearly sense the tendency of certain non-Han groups in southern China to refuse to be seen by the outside world as Miao during the late Qing period.
Second, in the formation of the ethnic/national self-identification of the Hans, the "Miao" group was put in a special reference system, and the image of Miao as an "ancient" and "declined" ethnic group associated with a tragic history began to be formed.
There are two ways to interpret the antiquarian image of Miao presented by the Han nationalists.
What was indicated in these discussions was that China or the Han Chinese might also follow the steps of the Miao if they did not try to revive the nation.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries and especially during the nationalist movement represented by the theme of "Expel Manchu and revive Han" ("pai Man xing Han") organized by the Chinese students in Japan, the image of Miao was developing in the eyes of the "Other".
The idea that Miao is an ethnic group in China with a long history has become common knowledge today.
The image of Miao as the oldest ethnic group in China was formed at the beginning of the 20th century, and yet the construction of self-identification within the Miao ethnic group began only in the 1980s, almost a century later.
14) Many studies have been done on the confrontation between the Miao society and the national authority and between the Han and Miao groups.