Permanent Collection

Artifacts from Ethnic Groups of Southwestern

The exhibition on ethnic groups departs from traditional displays of ethnic groups. Conventionally, museums emphasize the differences between ethnic groups; but here the exhibition explores mainly the concepts of "identity" and "distinction." The Museum draws on artifacts, documents and photographs of ethnic minorities collected by the Institute. The introduction on physical environment, resources and local ecosystems high-lights the relation between men and nature; many objects provide clues to the groupings, class structure and gender issues in the relation of individuals and society; and still some other objects tell the story of men and the universe, in the way these ethnic groups conceive their history and religion. Objects are arranged to suggest how environment led to differentiation among human groups, how people express identity and distinction through clothing and ornament, and how they at times mark life stages through religion and rituals.

Red Lacquer Lunch box

Lacquerware is rare among the peoples of southwestern China, but the Tai are skilled in its manufacture. This lacquer box belonged to s chieftain or member of the aristocracy. It was employed in ceree-monies and sacrfices.

Shaman’s Knife

The Ching-po live in the mountains. Inaddition to agriculture, they also rely on hunting and gathering to support themselves. Ching-po shamans perform an ox sacrifice on various occasions, including key moments reated to agriculture, hunting, marriage, disease and war. This knife, decorated with a boars tusk, were employed by a Ching-po shaman.

Palm Leaf Buddhist Text

Palm leafs were used as a support for writing in ancient India from. As the first century A.D. Ever since they have been used for Buddhist texts in South and Southeast Asia. Buddhist palm leaf manuscripts were used by the Tai people in Yunnan in early twentieth century when researchers from Academia Sinica collected them for the Institute. Many of these manuscripts are in Pail, the classical language of Buddhist texts in areas where Theravada Buddhism predominates.

Nuo God and Nuo Goddess

The Nuo god and Nuo goddess of the Miao people are the brother and sister in the story of a great flood.

Embroidered Shirt

Embroidered Apron