Museum of Jino Ethnic Group to Open

After four years of extensive construction, the Jino Ethnic Culure Museum is now complete, according to latest issue of Beijing Review,according to latest issue of Beijing Review.

Located in Baka, a tiny village in the Jino Mountains, the museum is the cultural center of the Jino ethnic group, which now has a population of 18,000. Most Jinos now live in the Jino Mountains near Jinghong city, in Yunnan Province. Baka is one of 46 villages inhabited by them.

According to legends dating back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), some soldiers of the Kingdom of Shu were left behind when they did not wake up in time to rejoin their army. However, when they did return, their commander refused to take them back and ordered them to stay in Jino Mountains instead. The soldiers therefore built helmet-shaped houses and settled in the area. They called themselves“Lost People,”and were considered ancestors of the Jino people.

The Jinos were cut off from modern civilization until 50 years ago, but slowly adopted the modern way of life during the next 50 years. This modernization, however, came at the expense of their culture, and therefore prevented some Jino youth from learning or retaining their language and other aspects of their heritage, such as their folklore. Some of them had never even seen their traditional costumes, leave alone worn them.

The cultural administration of Yunnan Province, with the aid of the U.S. Ford Fund and other international organizations, invested in the construction of a museum to exhibit Jino cultural relics and generally carry on other unique features of their culture.

Approximately 25 minority ethnic groups live in Yunnan Province, of which 15 are exclusive to the province. The Government will encourage each minority ethnic group to build their own museum, to protect their respective cultures.

(Beijing Review 09/06/2001)

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