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Tibetan, Boyu in China

Tibetan, Boyu

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Tibetan, Boyu in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
4,200 Tibetan, Central Ethnic Religions 0.60 % 0.60 % Not available   

Tibetan, Boyu in China

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The Boyu Tibetans are a distinct ethnolinguistic people group. As one visitor remarked, "their language and costume is now very different from Tibetans elsewhere." During festivals, Boyu women wear special dress, unique among all Tibetan peoples. "A breastplate is made of around five to six thousand coral beads, and an enormous silver medallion at waist level - known as meilong. ... The body of the medallion is scattered with motifs executed in colored enamels, including Tibetan Buddhist symbols and talismans to ward off evil spirits." The Boyu are ethnolinguistically distinct from other Tibetans in the area.

The Boyu women's special costume "is thought to be associated in some way with the army of Tubo, the Tibetan kingdom which was founded by Songtsen Gampo in 629 and lasted for around two hundred years. ... Legend has it that the forebears of the Boyu Tibetans were soldiers from the hinterland of Tibet who were sent to guard the border areas. However, they began to farm the land and eventually decided to settle there."

The Flower-Gathering Festival of the Boyu is unique to this one small area. It takes place annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. "They believe if they drink the spring water on the mountain before the sun touches it ... it will keep them free from disease. And if they bathe in the water, all evil will be kept from them."

During the Flower-Gathering Festival the Boyu worship Lianzhi, the goddess of flowers. One of their legends relates that the Boyu lived in abject poverty in ancient times. Touched by their misery, "the gods eventually took pity and sent a young girl, Lianzhi, from heaven to teach them how to reclaim land and grow crops, how to spin and weave cloth. This went on until one year ... she went into the mountains to gather flowers ... and never came back. The people made offerings to her and named her the Goddess of Flowers."

There are only a handful of known Christians among the Boyu Tibetans today, although the Christian and Missionary Alliance worked in nearby Min Xian prior to 1949. The missionaries, who first arrived in 1889, included William Christie, W. W. Simpson, Robert Ekvall, Calvin Snyder, and William Ruhl.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-07-02
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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Northeast Asia
Persecution Rank:43 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:The Boyu Tibetans live in the large Boyu Village in Zhugqu County. Zhugqu is within the Gaanan Prefecture in poverty-stricken Gansu Province. They live atop a 3,000- meter-high (9,840 ft.) mountain. "Boyu is located at the heart of a complex of high peaks and deep ravines, and the paths along which they climb lead through magnificent scenery… dotted with all kinds of flowers: azaleas, camellias, peonies, wolf-berries."
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Tibetan, Boyu
People Name General: Tibetan, Boyu
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114327
Joshua Project People ID: 18696
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 4,200
Population all Countries: 4,200
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibetan
People Name General: Tibetan, Boyu
Ethnic Code: MSY50r
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tibetan, Central (4,200 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): bod    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism30.00 % 
Christianity0.60 %(Evangelical: 0.60 %)
Ethnic Religions68.40 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious1.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1862-1991
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1948
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsFathers Love Letter
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoCreation to Christ (
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoGood News for You (
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tibetan, Central
Film / VideoPhim (
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Text / Printed MatterBible: པོད་སྐད་ - Tibet ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Tibetan, Boyu in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tibetan     Northeast Asia    
      Tibetan, Boyu China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tibetan, Boyu in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Tibetan, Central  
    All Religions                              

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