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Tibet Guide

Nyingchi Moinba people

Author:tibetbest.net     Last updated:2013/12/4 17:55:04     Onclick:1712

The Moinba people were recognized in 1964 by the State Council as one of China"s minority groups. The population of the Moinba people in Nyingchi is about 6,800, accounting for 5 percent of the total. They have their own language, but with many dialects. The two major dialects, Fenlho and Boranme, which are vastly different from each other, belong to the Tibetan subbranch of the Tibetan-Myarma branch of the Chinese-Tibetan language. Without their own written language, most of the Moinba people speak and write the Tibetan language. They use the Tibetan calendar.

The Moinba people can be found mainly in Medog County and the Pailung Moinba Village in Nyingchi County. Medog was formerly called Bema, and was referred to as "Boyu Bema" in classical Tibetan Buddhist scripts, which means "hidden lotus flower." It is regarded as a holy land by Buddhists. Medog has a varied topography, with a landscape of high mountains and deep gorges covered with dense jungles. Located on the southern slope of the Namjagbarwa Peak,it has a climate of "Xishuangbanna on the plateau," which is between subtropical and tropical, different from the rest of Tibet. From the top to the base of the mountain, the plants vary from alpine-frigid to tropical. Medog County has many mountains over 6,000 meters above sea level, which are capped with snow year-round, with exposed ridges dotted with alpine plants, such as lichen and snow lotus.Below the snow line are coniferous trees, such as snow pine trees, dragon spruces and firs, among which monkeys and squirrels can be seen cavorting lively. Between 2,000 meters and 3,000 meters above sea level, where the climate is warm and humid, is a primeval forest composed of such broadleaf trees as azalea and nanmu, where tigers dwell. In the lower area, which is spring-like year-round, are residences and green orchards. The foot of the mountain, only 600 meters above sea level, is tropical, where cicadas sing and frogs croak, and where rice can be harvested twice a year. The rich botanical resources make Medog a large natural greenhouse of Tibet.

According to the elderly Moinba people, the present Moinba people are descendants of those who moved from Zhuba (present-day Bhutan) 200 years ago to escape an earthquake. Six households were the first group to arrive _ over 30 people; the second group comprised nearly 100 households _ about 600 or 700 people; and the third group moved here sporadically, most of whom arrived in Medog, but some lost their way and settled in the Pailung Village in Nyingchi County. They were the ancestors of the present Moinba people in Nyingchi.

Most of the Moinba people live off farming _ raising corn, rice, jizhua rice and other crops. They also engage in forestry and animal husbandry, and are good hunters. Some of them make stone woks, rattan and bamboo works, or sugar, and some weave cloth. Their residences are uniquely structured buildings made of wood, and every household has barns for grains and salted meat,
supported by wooden pillars and a large disc to prevent mildew and to keep out rats. The Moinba people live mostly in Medog ravines, and, without any highway to act as a contact with the outside world, partly maintain the primitive slash-and-burn farming method. Located at the southern foot of the Himalaya Mountains, Medog County enjoys favorable natural conditions. Subtropical and tropical fruits such as the banana, tangerine, lemon and watermelon can be grown here. There are also forest products, such as the edible fungus, mushroom and some special tropical medicines. Due to the special geographical conditions, rattan net bridges and sliding ropes from ancient times still exist in some parts of Medog.

Most of the Moinba people belong to the Nyinma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

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