Sunday, January 1, 2012

Linxia Hui Nationality Autonomous Prefecture Small Mecca of China

Linxia Hui Nationality Autonomous Prefecture known as “Small Mecca of China”, with many Mosques along the roadside. Pay a visit to Linxia Mosque. Passing through Tumen Pass, the obvious dividing line of Gansu temperature and the intercommunion of Chinese Muslim culture and Tibetan Buddhism cultures, reach Labrang Monastery. Linxia City has over 80 mosques,  built in a variety of architectural styles. There are also a number of gongbei shrines centered around graves of Sufi masters.

The possible origins of Monguor (Tu) people in Tongren County, Rma lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, are discussed in the context of a ritual winter exorcism in Gnyan thog Village, Qinghai Province. Bang rituals and the possible origins of wutu, an exorcist winter ritual, are described, as well as the ritual as it occurs in Gnyan thog Village, Tongren County. For comparative purposes, a similar ritual is described in the nearby area of Rdo sbis, Xunhua County.



                                         Hua Si Gongbei (Ma Laichi's mausoleum)                         

Gnyan thog (Nianduhu) Village, Gnyan thog Township, Tongren County, Rma lho (Huangnan |Ç) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, is located in the east-central part of Qinghai Province, situated in northwest China. West of the Rong bo River, the village is home to 250 families and has a total population of approximately 1,500. Gnyan thog residents are officially classified as Tu (Monguor), a non-Islamic Mongolic people numbering 190,000. They live primarily in Qinghai and Gansu 1Â provinces. CHEN’s (1986) “Baoan” ˜H linguistic study lists informants as being “Monguor” and from the villages of Gnyan thog, Tho rgya bod skor (Baoan Xiazhuang H49), Ska gsar (Gashari), and Sgo dmar (Guomari »8Õ), all located in Tongren County. ÜJIYEDIIN (1994) utilizes material from the same sources in an English-language monograph entitled “Introduction, Grammar, and Sample Sentences for Baoan.” Gansu Province is where the great majority of China’s 12,000 citizens officially classified as “Baoan” dwell.

Hanjia Mosque 
Suoma Mosque
Further complicating matters, those classified as Monguor living in nearby Wutun G¬ speak a creole (CHEN 1986a) that is virtually incomprehensible to Gnyan thog residents. Additionally, Zhu Yongzhong, who is a Monguor native of Minhe County, understood little of the Gnyan thog language while in the village collecting and filming materials for this paper. Gnyan thog residents’ language has many affinities with Mongol and Tibetan, and has more lexical terms in common with these languages than with Chinese. These taxonomic conundrums illustrate the complex ethnic circumstances of many eastern Qinghai communities.

This paper provides a detailed description of the wutu ritual performed on 30 December 1996.2 Specifically, we discuss the various explanations of the origin of Gnyan thog residents, provide an account of the origin of Gnyan thog Castle, describe ritual sacrifices to local mountain gods, describe wutu ritual, and conclude by summarizing a similar ritual in a nearby Tibetan area.

Nanguan Mosque

Laohua Mosque

By the late 1872, the Qing armies lead by general Zuo Zongtang had destroyed the Hui  rebels in the regions to the east of Hezhou (Shaanxi  and Ningxia), and reached the Tao River, separating the today's Linxia Prefecture from its eastern neighbor, Dingxi  to the east. Zuo's attempts to gain a foothold west of the Tao River were stymied by Ma Zhan'ao's Muslim fighters. But Ma realized that he could not hold against the Qing armies forever, and in early 1873 he sent his son, who was soon to become known as Ma Anliang, to Zuo's headquarters in Anding to negotiate switching sides.

Pursuant to the agreement, Ma Zhan'ao surrendered Hezhou to the government forces, executed those locals who objected to the surrender, and joined the government side himself, to fight against the rebels farther west. In exchange, Zuo Zontang treated the Hezhou Muslim community much better than he had the people of Ma Hualong's Jinjipu, or than he would treat the defenders of Suzhou later this year. The Hezhou Muslims were spared a massacre or a relocation to a remote region; instead, in a unique gesture during that war, Zuo acted to reduce the inter-communal tension by relocating some of the local Han people away from the Muslims.[16]  Nonetheless, in order to ensure the government's control over the region, the Muslims were prohibited to live within the city walls of Hezhou.


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