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Lolos

LOLOS, the name given by the Chinese to a large tribe of aborigines who inhabit the greater part of southern Szechuen. Their home is in the mountainous country called Taliang shan, which lies between the Yangtsze river on the east and the Kien ch'ang valley on the west, in south Szechuen, but they are found in scattered communities as far south as the Burmese frontier, and west to the Mekong. There seems no reason to doubt that they were, like the Miaotze, one of the aboriginal tribes of China, driven southwards by the advancing flood of Chinese. The name is said to be a Chinese corruption of Lulu, the name of a former chieftain of a tribe who called themselves Nersu. Their language, like the Chinese, is monosyllabic and probably ideographic, and the characters bear a certain resemblance to Chinese. No literature, however, worthy of the name is known to exist, and few can read and write. Politically they are divided into tribes, each under the government of a hereditary chieftain. The community consists of three classes, the " blackbones" or nobles, the " whitebones " or plebeians, and the viatze or slaves. The last are mostly Chinese captured in forays, or the descendants of such captives. Within Lolo-land proper, which covers some 1 1 ,000 sq.m., the Chinese government exercises no jurisdiction. The Lolos make frequent raids on their unarmed Chinese neighbours. They cultivate wheat, barley and millet, but little rice. They have some knowledge of metals, making their own tools and weapons. Women are said to be held in respect, and may become chiefs of the tribes. They do not intermarry with Chinese.

See A. F. Legendre, " Les Lolos. Etude ethnologique et anthropologique," in T'oung Poo II., vol. x. (1909); E. C. Baber, Royal Geog. Society Sup. Papers, vol. i. (London, 1882); F. S. A. Bourne, Blue Book, China, No. i (1888); A. Hosie, Three Years in Western China (London, 1897).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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