|Regions with significant populations|
|Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan and Napo County, Guangxi in China|
The Buyang people are an officially unrecognized Kra ethnic group living in Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan and Napo County, Guangxi in China. They are closely related to the Laha, Qabiao, Gelao, and Lachi. The Buyang language is spoken, although many Buyang are now shifting to Zhuang and Southwestern Mandarin. In Yunnan, the Buyang are classified by the Chinese government as Zhuang, while they are classified as Yao in Guangxi (Li 2006).
The name Buyang comes from the Zhuang pu22 jaaŋ24 (alternatively pu22 ȵaaŋ24), which means "other people." The Buyang of Napo County, Guangxi call themselves the ʔia33 hrɔŋ53, while Guangnan Buyang call themselves pa33 ha33. In Napo and Jingxi counties, many Zhuang are called "Buyang" by other Zhuang groups. In southeastern Guizhou and Tianlin, Longlin, and Xilin counties of Guangxi, many villages also contain the word yang 央, suggesting that those villages may be formerly Buyang-speaking areas that had been assimilated by the Zhuang people.
The Buyang of Guangnan County and Funing County are officially classified as Zhuang, while those in Napo County are classified as Yao. This is because Buyang clothing appears similar to Yao clothing, and many Zhuangs and Hans have mistaken the Buyang as Yao and have called them:
- Tu Yao 土瑶, "native Yao"
- Tie Yao 铁瑶, "Iron Yao"
- Liu Yao 六瑶, "Six Yao"
The Buyang of Napo County are also called the Liu Yao 六瑶 ("Six Yao") because they used to live in six villages (Li & Luo 2010). According to the Napo County Almanac (那坡县志), this exonym dates back to the Qing Dynasty, when the "Six Yao" lived in the villages of Nianyi 念益, Guolie 果列, Yancun 燕村, Rongtun 荣屯, Gonghe 共和, and Shanhe 善合.
Traditional Buyang clothing resembles that of the Gelao and Lachi peoples, although many have now switched to Zhuang-style clothing. Today, most Buyang celebrate Zhuang festivals, although the Guangnan Buyang (or Paha) celebrate the Dragon-Worshiping Festival and the Yin Day, or New Year, Festival.
The Buyang people may have originally migrated to their present locations in Yunnan and Guangxi from Guizhou province in the north, which is now occupied by the Gelao people. Various types of historical evidence suggest that the Buyang were much more populous in the past. For instance, many village names in Xilin County, Longlin County, and Napo County begin with Yāng (央 or 秧), suggesting that they may have formerly been Buyang-speaking areas from at least the Qing Dynasty. Today, the dominant languages in these areas are Bouyei and Yang Zhuang. Li (1999) states that the following counties were formerly inhabited by Buyang speakers, but no longer have any:
A legend among the Buyang of Guangxi recounts that once there were three Buyang brothers living in poverty. One stayed in Guangxi, another went to Yunnan to escape poverty, and yet another migrated to northern Vietnam. The third brother who migrated to Vietnam could have been the ancestor of the En (Nung Ven) or the Qabiao people.
A Qing-era chronicle had also mentioned a people called the Puyang 普央 living in Guangnan.
- Diller, Anthony, Jerold A. Edmondson, and Yongxian Luo ed. The Tai-Kadai Languages. Routledge Language Family Series. Psychology Press, 2008.
- Li Jinfang (1999). Buyang yu yan jiu. Beijing: Central University for Nationalities Press.
- Li Jinfang and Luo Yongxian. The Buyang language of South China: grammatical notes, glossary, texts and translations. Pacific Linguistics Publishers, Australian National University, 2010.