Identity The Panxian Nasu are officially considered part of the Yi nationality in China. Their culture, ethnicity, and language are different from other Yi groups however. Panxian is the name of a county in Guizhou Province. The county includes the large Lupanshui Municipality. This loconym has been added to the name of this group to distinguish it from the several other Nasu groups in southern China.
History The Panxian Nasu have lived in their present location for numerous centuries. Over the past three hundred years, under pressure from an influx of Han Chinese into their areas, many Panxian Nasu living near the townships have lost the use of their language, traditional dress, and culture.
Customs The traditional dress of Panxian Nasu women consists of "a long gown in black or blue with buttons on the right side. ... The headscarves are usually white in color. The waist is girded with a black apron with two floral streamers hanging down on the front. Women of Longlin [County in Guangxi] look more plain and graceful. ... They wear black headscarves, earrings, bracelets and embroidered shoes with a hawk head on the top."
Religion Ancestor worship is the main religion of the Panxian Nasu today. Only in mountainous areas do they still practice spirit worship.
Christianity There are at least 5,000 Panxian Nasu believers. In Longyin Township of Pu'an County, where the Nasu have met in three large house churches since 1980, "the Christians are held in high esteem by their neighbors because of their constant display of public spirit." The Panxian Nasu of southern Guizhou, Yunnan, and Guangxi have had less exposure to the gospel.
Approximately 290,000 Nasu people speaking a distinct language live in western Guizhou Province and in adjoining parts of eastern Yunnan Province. In Yunnan, where 86,000 are located, the Panxian Nasu live in Fuyuan, Luoping, and Qujing counties. In Guizhou their villages are distributed in Panxian, Shuicheng, Xingren, Xingyi, Pu'an, and Qinglong counties. The Panxian Nasu are also found in Longlin County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They are the largest group of the 6,000 Yi people in Guangxi. (Source: Operation China, 2000)