The 2010 census population of the Yi was 8,714,393, most of them living in Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou. The Yi speak a Tibeto-Burman language and have their own script. They once had a reputation as fierce warriors and those in Liangshan, Sichuan, formerly had a heavily stratified slave system. They are polytheists, and also have a long tradition of Buddhism, with Daoism and Christianity introduced later. They are fiercely protective of their own culture, which is one of the strongest among ethnic minority cultures.
In Liangshan I chanced on the house of an Yi family. They were extremely kind to me and the man of the family, pictured above to the left, had a pig killed in my honour and invited me to a pork lunch. His wife and other members of the family kindly took part. After the lunch I offered the husband 100 yuan in compensation for the pig. He threw it on the floor angrily and appeared insulted by my offer. Later, I offered the money to the wife separately, and she accepted graciously.
I had a picture taken with the entire family. The patriarch is squatting in the middle below, while his wife is standing next to me just behind.
Please follow these links if on mobile to view images on the various ethnic groups in Yunnan and Guangxi