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In Retrospect: Ethnicity Surveys of Southwest China by the Institute of History and Philology in the 20th Century


Exhibition Date: Starting October 29, 2022
Exhibition Room: Artifacts from Ethnic Groups of Southwestern China (Room 204)
Exhibition Website:
The geography of Southwest China is characterized by its many mountains and rivers, and the region is likewise populated by numerous distinct ethnic groups. Historical records from China’s ancient past provide a wealth of information about the peoples of this area. This combination of geographical diversity, ethnic complexity, and rich historical data has long attracted historians and anthropologists to Southwest China, becoming a site for research whose value cannot be overstated. 
Beginning in the 1920s, researchers at the IHP have engaged in various related research projects, and through the years of tireless efforts, more than 1,100 objects, at least 800 documents and writings, about 7,000 photographs from the field as well as video and audio materials have been collected pertaining to ethnic groups in Southwest China.
The exhibition explores the themes of “identity” and “distinction” among the ethnic groups of the region, and more specifically, has been divided into three topics of interest:
(i) People and Place: The Relationship between Geographical Environments, Resources, and Societies
(ii) People and People: Identities and Distinctions of Ethnic Groups, Classes, and Genders
(iii) People and Heaven: The Cosmological Views of Life and Related Religions and Beliefs of Ethnic Groups
In this way, the exhibition hopes to present the historical processes underlying the formation of minority ethnic groups in Southwest China.

Published on 2022-10-25