The Yugurs, or Sari Yogur, Sarig, Sary-Uighur, Sarygh Uygur, Ya Lu, Yellow Uighur, Yugu, Yuku :
Tibetans and other Ethnic Minorities in China :
This page was last updated on: May 27, 2017
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The Yugurs are a very small Ethnic Group. In the 1950's only some 3000 Yugurs were counted. According to the Year 2000 AD National cenus there were 13.700 Yugurs living in China (P.R.C.). Most Yugurs live in their own Autonomous County, Sunan Yugur Autonomous County (Banner) in Zhangye Prefecture of Gansu Province of North-Western China, right on the outermost edge of the Tibetan Plateaux. A second group resides near JiuGuan (twin city with JiaYuGuan, the last Fortress on the Ming Dynasty Great Wall of China) in the Huangnibao area of the Hexi Corridor of Gansu Province. This area, Jiuquan Huangnibao Yugur Autonomous Township, was established as a native area of the Yugur in April of 1954 AD. Another small group of the Yugur live in ethnic enclaves in South-Eastern Qinghai Province near the Town of Yushu (Gyegu).
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Link: Satellite Image with Schematic of the Location and path of the Great Wall of China during the Ming Dynasty. Passes on the Great Wall, including JiuGuan and JiaYuGuan are marked.
The Yugur style of dress is colorful if not flamboyant. Beads are very popular and Yugur women wear round skull caps with many beads arranged in colorful decorations. Women's caps vary according to married status. The women usually wear a trumpet-shaped white felt hat with two black lines in front, topped by red tassels.
Yugur clothing is adorned with decorations. Here natural themes of flowers, birds, animals and butterflies abound. Shirt, gown, coat and even boots are decorated. Geometrical designs made of coral beads, sea shells,green and blue stone chips, and silk threads in bright colors are used as hair decorations. Mean wear a high-collared long gown buttoned on the left, a red-blue waist band and high boots. The whole attire is topped off with a typical round hat made of Felt.

As do the Tibetans, the Yugur traditionally adhere to Tibetan-Lamaism as their faith. This faith was introduced to the Yugur in the Ming Dynasty and gained influence through the Ming and Qing Dynasty Era as Buddhist priests cooperated with local governments and participated in the administration of the area's towns and cities. At the time each Yugur Tribe supported its own Buddhist Monastery.

The Yugur diet resembles the Tibetan staple Yak butter, cooked mutton, Zanba, roasted qingke barley flower and milk products. The agricultural Yugurs consume more grain and vegetables.

The main Festival of the Yugur is the yearly horse racing event which s held near Yushu a remote town in South-East Qinghai and draws Yugur's and others from far away.
The Yugurs resemble the Tibetans in many ways. The Yugurs were originally pastoral people, who lived a nomadic lifestyle on the high plains and grasslands as herdsmen living in tents. Few Nomads remain. Today's Yugur have mainly settled down and have switched to a lifestyle of agriculture. Recently many have found a new life in the booming tourism industry in their localities.

The Yugur have their own spoken language, however no written version of their language, they use Chinese written language instead. The Huangnibao Area/ JiuGuan Yugurs all speak the Chinese Language. However the Yugurs of Sunan Yugur speak a the Yugur language, albeit in different tongues. The Altaic language family (Raohul) tongue is used by the Yugurs in the western part of the autonomous county, whereas a Mongolian branch of the same language family (Engle) is used by those in the eastern part of the autonomous county.
- Ethnic Minorities of China in General
- Islamic Minorities in China
- Manchu-Tungusic Peoples in China
- Mongolians , Mongol Ethnic Minority
- Ethnic Minorities of European Descent in China
- Korean Ethnic Minority
- Tibetans and Other Ethnic Minorities
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Map Tibet Historical Borders
A Schematic Map of Historical Tibet, today Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province and a part of Sichuan province.
Included for reference are current Internationa Borders, provincial borders, locations and names of main cities and towns, main rivers and lakes, mountains, important Tibetan-Buddhist Monasteries and other places of significance.
Further Reports link to More Photos and History & Backgrounds of each City, Town or Ethnic Community of Yugur, Dongxiang Tibetan, Lhoba, Kazakh, Mongol or others where available.
Today Tibet only exists as Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Tourist visits require an aditional visa !
Historicaly the Yugurs descend from a nomadic tribe living in the Erhun River and Selenga River Valleys South of Lake Baikal in Russia and Mongolia who were allied with the Han Chinese during the long Reign of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD). When the Tang Dynasty met its final decline the Yugur ancestors were forced to move Southwards into China under pressure from attacking Kirgiz Tribes and due to to political infighting among themselves. What followed is a complicated story but in principle the migrating ancient Yugurs (the ancient Ouigurs) moved in three seperate groups which wound up in different area's within the large Gansu Province of China. One group settled in the Hexi corridor in the area between Dunhuang (Guazhou), Zhangye (Ganzhou) and Wuwei (Liangzhou) in the Hexi Corridor - the strategic "neck of China" in central western Gansu Province - where they came under the rule of Tubo, a Tibetan kingdom. They are the Hexi Yugurs.
For More information on the Hexi Yugurs - Read "Ethnic Minorities of JiaYuGuan and Prefecture" or "Ethnic Minorities of Jiuquan".

Two other groups chose to follow the Kunlun Mountains further East and South to end up on the border with Qinghai Province where they gradually became the Sunan area Yugurs and were engaged in livestock breeding and hunting. As a result of their geographical separation (until the 1950's there were no roads nor bridges in the area) the various Yugur groups developed different language dialects and variations in lifestyle.
This page was last updated on: May 27, 2017
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