There are different accounts of their origins, though their history can be traced back over twelve centuries, and possibly beyond, to the ancient Ba people who occupied the area around modern-day Chongqing some 2,500 years ago. Over the centuries they have come into extensive contact with the country's Han Chinese majority, but it was only after the Qing Dynasty imposed direct rule in the 1730s that the Tujia's native culture began to disappear as a result of acculturation and assimilation.
The Tujia are renowned for their singing and song composing abilities and for their tradition of the Baishou hand dance, a 500 year old collective dance which uses 70 ritual gestures to represent war, farming, hunting, courtship and other aspects of traditional life. They are also famous for their richly-patterned brocade, known as 'xilankapu', a product that in earlier days regularly figured in their tribute payments to the Chinese court.
Settlements of the Tujia are distributed over western Hunan and western Hubei provinces, as well as in several autonomous counties under the jurisdiction of Chongqing municipality.
The Tujia are renowned for their singing and song composing abilities and for their tradition of the Baishou (摆手舞) hand dance, a 500 year old collective dance which uses 70 ritual gestures to represent war, farming, hunting, courtship and other aspects of traditional life.
Tujia is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language group; many consider it an isolate within this group.
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