Li Jackets

Ref. Number: A350

Country: China, Heinan, Li Tribe

Li Jacket

Li Jacket

The Li, comprised of five tribes, are the indigenous inhabitants of Hainan Island, China.

According to historical records, the term “Li” first appeared in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The Lis are believed to be descendants of the ancient Yue ethnic group, who migrated from Guangdong and Guangxi on the mainland to Hainan Island long before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). Archaeological finds on the island show that Li ancestors settled there some 3,000 years ago during the late Shang Dynasty or early Zhou Dynasty when they led a primitive matriarchal communal life.

The Li nationality lives mainly on agriculture. Situated in a subtropical zone with fertile land and abundant rainfall, the Li area is a tropical paradise for agriculture. People in some places reap three crops of rice a year and grow maize and sweet potatoes all the year round. The area is also the country’s major producer of tropical crops.

Li Jacket

Li Jacket

Most Li practice traditional ethnic religions, including ancestor worship, worshiping earth gods and spirits. They believe the spirits of their ancestors have the ability to protect them.

The Li people have the earliest weaving technology in Chinese history. Li women are skilled in spinning and weaving and are especially adept at weaving silk cotton. The brocade they make has a long reputation for its magnificence and exquisite workmanship. In the very early days, the Li people knew how to use silk cotton as weaving material. In the 5th century, Li textile technology reached a considerably high level.

The cloth of the Li ethnic group has a unique style. As experts of spinning, weaving, dying and sewing, they often make their clothes entirely by themselves. The men wear collarless jackets, buttoned down on the front. The women wear open-front blouses and close-fitting skirts. The women’s skirts are close-fitting and reach the knee, showing off their beautiful figures. Women like to do their hair in a coil at the back and pin it with bone hairpins and wear embroidered kerchiefs. They wear earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Some still tattoo their body, usually on the face, the back of the hand, and ankle.

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