book reviews Butterfly Mother: Miao (Hmong) Creation Epics from Guizhou, China. translated by mark bender. based on a version by Jin Dan and ma Xueliang. (indianapolis: hackett, 2006. Pp. viii + 188, pronunciation key, map, notes, bibliography.) cathryn Fairlee Independent Scholar and Storyteller The miao or hmong people of southeast Guizhou are one of the fifty-six minorities that live in china, preserving their ethnic identities in varying degrees, separate from the dominant han chinese who form 90 percent of the population of the People's republic of china. in the south and southwest of china, long narrative myths of plant and animal creation, ancestral heroes, and legendary migrations are still a part of the oral repertoire. one of the miao traditions includes the antiphonal singing of long poems or songs for courtship, marriage, festivals, house raising, village cleansing, sacrifice rituals, funerals, and pure pleasure. The poetic title and embroidery motif of But terfly Mother is fitting for a book of creation poems from the miao people, for it is from the legendary eggs of the butterfly mother that the miao are descended. These epic poems were first collected in the early 1950s when folk traditions were promoted by the
Journal of American Folklore – American Folklore Society
Published: Oct 26, 2011
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