image: traditional Tujia brocade

Selected Language Archive Speakers

Ages and other details are given for mid-2002. All the speakers are from the northern part of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Hunan Province.

Tian Jinggui Tian Jinggui, aged 72, is a native of Zhongxin Village in Dianfang Township in Longshan County. He tells the story of his early years in My Childhood. He became a cadre in the new government administration after Liberation in 1949, rising to become the Vice-Governor of Xiangxi Prefecture in 1957. Subsequently he served as Vice-Chairman of the Prefectural Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference until his retirement in 1991. He lives in Jishou and is the author of a number of books on Tujia history and culture (see Introduction). He is keen to preserve aspects of traditional Tujia culture for future generations and is currently active in the development of a museum of Tujia culture in Dianfang. In the language archive, Mr Tian narrates three stories about the legendary Tujia heroes Duke Peng, General Xiang and Hero Tian. He also prepared the script for The Eight Great Kings, one of a number of legends about Tujia origins, and recorded a number of traditional songs and proverbs.

Tian Xintao Tian Xintao, aged 75, was born in Daba Township in Yongshun County. Encouraged by her father, she attended school, first in Yongshun and Huayuan, and later in Changsha, the provincial capital of Hunan Province, and is one of a very limited number of Tujia women to have acquired a good education in that period. After Liberation she trained as a teacher and taught at the Henan Teacher Training College in Xinxiang for many years from 1953 to 1999. She occupies a key role in recent Tujia history as it was through her petitioning, whilst attending the National Day celebrations in Beijing as a delegate in 1950, that research into the distinct ethnic identity of the Tujia was initiated by the government. This culminated in the formal recognition of the Tujia in 1957 as one of China's 55 ethnic minorities. Although Mrs Tian has lived outside the Tujia heartland areas for some 50 years, she retains vivid memories of her time there, as narrated in Stories of Yongshun and Hunting a Tiger, and has extensive knowledge of traditional culture. The language archive includes her performance of kujia, the cycle of songs wailed by the bride before and during her wedding (see Kujia Part 1 and Part 2). She is seen here wearing traditional Tujia clothing.

Peng Wugen Peng Wugen, aged 59, is a farmer who has lived all of his life in Baixing village of Dianfang Township in Longshan County. He has never travelled outside the prefecture, and we were the first foreigners he had met, as was the case for many other folk in the areas we visited. Wellknown throughout the surrounding villages as an excellent storyteller, he narrated a story cycle about the celebrations and activities connected with the Shebajie festival held in early spring, Part 1 and Part 2 of which are fully transcribed and glossed in the language archive. He also tells of his Encounter with a Tiger, and performs an impromptu Hunting Duologue with Peng Jingchun, drawing on his experiences of hunting during his youth. In addition, he gives a hands-on demonstration of How to Make a Dongdongkui Flute.

Lu Bangzhen Lu Bangzhen, aged 72, lives in Qixin village of Tasha rural township in Longshan County, and is the great-uncle of Lu Meiyan. He served as village schoolmaster for many years before his retirement. He tells the tale of one of the area's most notorious bandits in Tufei Bandits in Longshan, Part 1 and Part 2. In Tujia New Year Customs, he describes the elements that make up a traditional celebration of the Tujia New Year.

Lu Meiyan Lu Meiyan, aged 19, was born in Qixin village of Tasha rural township in Longshan County, and is currently training to be an English teacher in Jishou City. Her knowledge of Tujia, Chinese (both Putonghua and the local dialect) and English has been of tremendous help to us. As our primary language assistant, she has worked strenuously to help produce this archive in its fully-glossed form. As well as narrating The Eight Great Kings, she also recorded Remembering Our Childhood with her good friend, Lu Yunhua.

Lu Yunhua Lu Yunhua, aged 22, is from Qixin village of Tasha rural township in Longshan County. She trained as a teacher in Jishou City and is currently teaching in Dianfang Township. She sings a Traditional Song, and also recorded Remembering Our Childhood with Lu Meiyan. She is seen here modelling traditional raingear: a wide-brimmed bamboo hat and a palm-fibre cape.

Peng Jingchun Peng Jingchun, aged 57, is a farmer from Zhongxin village of Dianfang Township in Longshan County. He performs a Hunting Duologue with Peng Wugen.

Peng Jizhen & Gong Pingqing Peng Jizhen, aged 69, and Gong Pingqing, aged 59, are farmers in the Dianfang area in Longshan County. After an introductory Welcome Song by Mr Peng, they sing a Landlord and Peasant Duologue together.

Tian Shunliang Tian Shunliang, aged 78, is a farmer from Pojiao rural township in Longshan County. He narrates an unusual encounter in A Tiger and some Pigs, which happened in 1962. He last saw a tiger in the area as late as 1975.

Tian Yuying, Xiang Peihua, Peng Cai'e & Tian Wucui Tian Yuying, aged 67, Xiang Peihua, 37, Peng Cai'e, 37, and Tian Wucui, 72, are from villages in Pojiao rural township in Longshan County. Mrs Xiang is a village Party secretary; the others are farmers. They describe what is happening in a number of photos of the previous year's cultural festival which was held in Pojiao in the summer of 2001. They also talk a little about Daily Life.

Peng Shikuan & Wang Huanming Peng Shikuan, aged 61, is a former soldier in the People's Liberation Army, and hence, unusually for people in the area, has travelled widely in China. Wang Huanming, aged 52, is a farmer; they both live in Tasha rural township in Longshan County. They talk about Retirement and reminisce about the tufei bandits who operated in the area prior to Liberation in 1949.

Zhang Fenglian & Liu Zhenying Zhang Fenglian, aged 46, is a farmer who is married to the local vet; Liu Zhenying, aged 70, is also a farmer. They talk about Village Life in their home area of Tasha in Longshan County.








Copyright (C) 2004 Philip & Cecilia Brassett