The Tu Ethnic Minority People in The Xining Area of China

Into the Toyota for a short drive to the Tu Village in Hu Zhu. The Tu Ethnic Nationality is in an autonomous region of Qinghai. The Tu predate the Tibetans and about 30,000 people live in this area. The Tu put on performances of singing, dancing, martial arts. These Tu people manage to make a very nice living for themselves serving lunch, dressing in their colorful, traditional outfits and performing. A typical Tu sports competition is called “Lun Zi Qui” and they fence with swords, etc.

Pulled up to this compound, welcomed with singing Tu women, offered small bowls of their local hooch made from highland barley and shown to our invidual room for lunch and local Tu delicacies. Most Chinese restaurants have little rooms for your group to eat in along with a big main area.

The food, whatever these local delicacies were, appeared instantly and neither of us cared for the taste. No matter, the entertainment was about to begin.

Tu woman pouring tea, China

There was a Chinese family in the room next to us, also watching the entertainment, with the cutest, most adorable little girl. What a sweetie…. With China’s one-child policy, children are brought up as “little emperors” and “empresses,” always dressed in the height of fashion and given whatever they desire.

sweet little Chinese girl

The entertainment started with a few different dances and display of martial arts…


one Tu Ethnic Minority dance, China

….culminating in the grand finale…a marriage ceremony dance. The on-looking men were dressed in Tu outfits, dragged into the courtyard and plied with some more “firewater.” ex-Marine acquitted himself beautifully…got the rhythm…and Yonten and I were very proud of him!

ex-Marine drinking some more “firewater” after the performance, China

a discussion with the Tu, Yonten translating in China

During our two days of touring, ex-Marine and I noticed all the Chinese tourists wearing yak-skin Cowboy hats everywhere we went – Kumbum Monastery, at the sand dunes, along the streets of Xining – and now, I had a burning desire get my very own cowboy hat. Off on a hat-buying pilgrimage. Driver Wang Lee-wouldn’t let us shop at the stands around all the tourist spots but drove off to a local arcade with yak skin hats galore. Such a DEAL! 10 Yuan or about $1.30 a hat! Not only will you see us wearing the local souvenir hat through the rest of the trip, but we promptly bought nine more…one for each grandchild. You could also buy a yak head or nice yak tail…drew the line on that…could you just hear my adult children? “Mom, whatever possessed you…are you crazy?”

cowboy hats for sale in Xining, China

a nice yak head for sale in Xining, China

or how about a nice yak tail as a China souvenir

It almost would have been worth buying a yak tail or yak head just to see the look on U.S. Customs faces when we re-entered the country… Hotels – save up to 50%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *