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Costoms of Sani People

The Sani is a branch of the Yis, which has a population of over 90,000. It mainly spread over the Stone Forest scenic spot in Shilin (the primary Lunan Yi Autonomous County) in Yunnan province. Its language belongs to the southeastern dialect. Sani people's clothes have a unique style. Men usually wrap head with black cloth, wear jacket with cloth buttons down the front, cover a sleeveless flax garment with buttons down the front, and wear black trousers. Women wrap a piece of cloth around their head which appears a little square with a board as framework, wear clothes with wide front, drape a sheep skin cape over shoulders, and wear long trousers instead of skirt. The Sani people are especially good at singing and dancing, and are versatile. Provided you enter Sani villages, you will hear clear and melodious sound of flute and melodious and resonant singing.

The flower headband of Sani women is an attractive artwork. The headband is made of silk cloth of seven colors, i.e. red, green, blue, brown, yellow, black and orange. Silver balls are nailed on the brim and a pair of ¡°colorful butterflies¡± is embroidered on the two sides. Two strings of beads are hung at the back with silver bells tied on the ends. The silver bells tinkle when the girls walk. The jacket sleeves of the girls are made of colorful silk cloth with two wide strips of laces. The left front of the clothes is mauve or black fine hair cloth embroidered with cow nose shape laces. A lamb budge covered with black fine hair cloth is used on the back.

Sani girls always carry an embroidered handbag and wear colorful waist band behind, just like the ties of gentlemen. So it has been said that ¡°the costumes of the Sani girls are strange, the ties of western suits are used as waist bands.¡± They used to wear homemade cloth trousers, but now they wear western pants. Their shoes have also changed from the former embroidered ones to the current sneakers or high-heeled shoes. 
In Shilin County, the houses of the Sani have various forms due to different natural conditions. The saying ¡°earth house in Haiyi, stone house in Nuohei, fence house in Hehe and couch grass house in Yuhu¡± summarizes the representative dwellings of the four places. 
Earth houses are made of earth and wood and are always two-storied. While the upper floor is for the residence of man, the lower level is used to enclose cattle. Stone houses are always two-floor with three rooms on each floor. Different from earth-based houses and brick houses, the girders, pillars, rafters and floors are all made of wood and the back wall and front wall are built with slates. 
Fence houses take stones as the base of walls. The walls are made of fences knitted with bamboo and branches covered with earth. The couch grass houses take stones as bases. The walls are built with pounded earth. Strong logs or square wood are used as pillars. The double-slope roof is made of couch grass. The couch grass house is humbler than the brick-and-tile house, but it costs less and is warm in winter and cool in summer.

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