Knife-making of Achang Ethnic Group
As one of the ethnic minorities in China, the Achang ethnic group has a population of 27,708 at present that inhabits mainly Longchuan, Lianghe Counties in Dehong Dai-Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southwest Yunnan Province. There are also a small number of them scattered in Luxii, Yingjiang, Tengjiang, Yunlong and other counties in Yunnan. Most of them live mixed with people of other ethnic groups like Dai and Han.
Achang people inhabit an area of hills, canyons and flatlands along the Yunnan-Myanmar border, where the soil is fertile, the climate mild, and the rainfall adequate. All of these are good conditions for the development of their agriculture. Achang people are known for their paddy rice plantation since antiquity.
As one of the earliest ethnic groups in Yunnan Province of China, the Achangs have lived there for many generations. The Achang ethnic group was also recorded as “Echang”(four variations pronounced the same but written differently in Chinese language) or “Achang” in ancient Chinese history books. These are all names for the Achang group in different times; but after the founding of the PRC, the group is called by a joint name as “Achang nationality” according to the will of the Achangs.
Achang people have their own spoken language, which belongs to Tibetan-Burmese Austronesian of the Sino-Tibetan family. There are two dialects in their language spoken respectively by people in Lianghe and Husa. As they have long been living mixed with the Han and Dai people, most Achangs can also speak Chinese and the Dai language.
The handicraft industry of the Achangs is well developed. They are especially adept at forging and making knives.