Costumes of Naxi Ethnic Group

“Cape with seven stars”

Since modern times, men’s clothes of the Naxis in Lijiang are basically the same as Hans’ nearby. Generally speaking, young men and men between thirty and fifty in countryside wear clothes with a line of cloth buttons down the front to go to work in the fields. They also cover sheepskin sleeveless jacket outside of the clothes, wear long trousers and local cloth shoes, tie a belt round their waist and wear a scarf (commonly called “Datou”) or nothing on their head; in normal times or when going to market, they usually wear long cloth gown with Hans’ style and felt hat. Women’s clothes represent evident characters of their own. They wear undershirt inside, a big garment in the middle, which open on the right side with wide waist and big sleeves, and with the front part reaching the knees and the back reaching the shins. They cover a woolen or cloth sleeveless jacket out of the garment, wear long trousers (the edge of the legs is not sewed up) and wrap their lower legs with girdles. They wear embroidered boat-shaped shoes with stitching embroidery figures, the instep of which is made of flannelette and the sole is made of leather. They wear socks or wrap bandages only on New Year’s Day or other festivals. Their clothes are blue, white or black with embroidered decorative border at collar, sleeve and front. They tie plaited apron round the waist. Women wear sheepskin cape when going to work in fields or visiting relatives or friends. The cape is delicately made: the back of it is lined with black velveteen or woolen cloth, and seven pairs of leather tassels are sewed into seven embroidered little rings at the lower edge (previously there were two big embroidered cloth rings at the shoulders of women’s cape which stands for the sun and the moon). This kind of “wearing stars and moon” cape symbolizes diligence of the Naxi women. Married women comb their hair into a coil and wear round yarn kerchief (“Gujing”); Girls coil their braid at the back of the head and wear cloth scarf or black velveteen hat. A small number of women in mountain region wear flax clothes. 

Clothes of the Naxis at the Yunnan side of the Lugu Lake are obviously different from those in Lijiang. Boys and girls wear long gown before 13 years old. After their adulthood rite at thirteen, they change to wear adults’ clothes (which mean women wear skirt and men wear trousers). Adult women like to wear red, blue or purple coat, which is edged with colorful cloth strips and is sewed with two lines of buttons, and light blue two-layer plaited skirt with a white underskirt in it. The skirt reaches the instep. They also like to tie red or yellow belt and embroidered shoes made of black cloth. Young men braid their hair and coil it at the top of head or let it fall down below the head. Men between thirty and fifty wear black cloth hat or leather hat made by them. They like Tibetan clothes and adornments. For example, they like to wear Tibetan woolen hat and Tibetan boots, and copper or silver big earrings, which make them dashing, spirited and valiant. 

After the setting up of the new China, clothes of the Naxis in Lijiang has changed a lot, and the trend develops toward direction of saving cloth and making labor and work convenient. Their clothes are almost the same as Hans, and only girls keep a suit of national clothes. Yet clothes of the Naxis near the Lugu Lake haven’t changed much.