Plant Diversity ›› 2014, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (04): 537-544.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201413195

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Plants among Yi People’s Traditional Folk Customs and Their Cultural Significance in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan

 WANG  Jing   

  1. College of Urban and Rural Construction, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, China
  • Received:2013-09-30 Online:2014-07-25 Published:2014-02-28
  • Supported by:

    四川省教育厅人文社科重点研究基地彝族文化研究中心资助科研项目 (YZWH1115)


The culture of plants used in Liangshan Yi people’s traditional folk customs is widespread. These plants represented rich cultural diversity, mainly existing in witchcrafts, rites and festivals. A communitybased study and an extensive field surveys had been carried out. The methods including Key Informant Interviews, Semistructured Interviews and Participatory Observation were adopted in the study. The plants in traditional folk customs used by the Yi people in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture and their cultural contexts were documented and inventoried. The results showed that there were 102 plant species used in Yi people’s traditional folk customs and expressed diversity and richness in terms of cultural meanings. The plants were used for witchcrafts and rites, social rituals, festive events, including 21 species used in wedding, 24 in funeral, 11 in the adult ceremony, 3 in daily life; 14 in the Torch Festival, 15 in the Yi National new year, 91 in witchcrafts and rites. The folk plants’ cultural meanings are mainly reflected in exorcism, reproductive worship and ancestor worship. The main reasons are that the Yi people advocate ghosts and believe the animism of primitive religion in Lianshan region. The cultures of folk plants are an important component of the natural primary religion and Bimo culture. It is an indispensable part of the traditional culture of the Yi people.

Key words: Ethnobotany, Traditional folk customs, Bimo culture, Yi nationality, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture

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