Imperial Tiger Hunters
Imperial Tiger Hunters:
An Introduction to the Tujia People of China

Philip & Cecilia Brassett
Paperback, 154 pages (October 2005)
Publisher: Antony Rowe Publishing Services
ISBN: 1-905200-37-4
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Hidden among the precipitous Wuling Mountains, just south of the Yangtze Three Gorges, live the Tujia, an ethnic group numbering eight million, with a long and fascinating history.
Descendants of the ancient Ba people, they lived an essentially independent existence for nearly two millenia. Under clans of feudal chieftains, one of which held sway for a staggering 800 years, they developed a highly distinctive culture - including crying before weddings, dancing at funerals and venerating the white tiger.
Then in the 1730s the Imperial Court in Peking finally gained the upper hand over them. The subsequent 300 years of assimilation by mainstream Chinese culture has taken its toll. The Tujia, pragmatic by nature, have always been able to adapt to new situations. Today, their desire to benefit from the educational and economic benefits of integration into modern China threatens the very survival of their traditional culture.
This book provides the first in-depth English introduction to the Tujia ethnic group and offers an overview of its birth, maturation and ongoing re-integration. As well as charting the broad themes of this process, the book contains numerous cameos that focus on the experiences of individuals from all walks of life.
Chapter 1: Introduction — In the Middle of the Middle Kingdom
Chapter 2: History Part I — Origins
Chapter 3: History Part II — Hereditary Chieftainships
Chapter 4: History Part III — Integration
Chapter 5: Language — Voices in the Twilight
Chapter 6: Economy and Society — Reluctant Farmers
Chapter 7: Culture — Sad Weddings and Happy Funerals
Chapter 8: Literature — In Other Words
Chapter 9: Postscript
Appendix 1: Pronunciation Guide
Appendix 2: Glossary