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The Salar people
Salar people
(Salar: Salır, سالار; Chinese: 撒拉族; pinyin: Sālāzú, Xiao'erjing: صَالاذُ) are an ethnic minority of China
China
who largely speak the Salar language, an Oghuz Turkic language. The Salar people
Salar people
numbered 104,503 people in the last census of 2000. They live mostly in the Qinghai- Gansu
Gansu
border region, on both sides of the Yellow River, namely in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County
Xunhua Salar Autonomous County
and Hualong Hui Autonomous County of Qinghai
Qinghai
and the adjacent Jishishan Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous County of Gansu. There are also Salars in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
(in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture). They are a patriarchal agricultural society and are predominantly Muslim.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Origin stories 1.2 Ming dynasty 1.3 Qing dynasty 1.4 Republican China 1.5 Modern era

2 Culture 3 Language 4 Genetics 5 Literature 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] Origin stories[edit] According to Salar tradition, they are the descendants of the Salur tribe, belonging to the Oghuz Turks[1][2] tribe of the Western Turkic Khaganate. During the Tang dynasty, the Salur tribe dwelt within China's borders — later moving west towards Central Asia. The two brothers Haraman and Ahman, forefathers of the present day Salar tribe once lived in the Samarkand
Samarkand
area. They were highly ranked at local Islamic mosques, which led to persecution from local rulers. The two brothers fled along with eighteen members of the tribe on a white camel with water, soil, and a Koran
Koran
before heading east.[3] The group trekked through the northern route of the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
mountain ranges into the Jiayuguan pass and passing through the present day Suzhou District, Ganzhou district, Ningxia, Qinzhou District, Gangu County, and eventually stopping at the present Xiahe County Later, another forty people from Samarkand
Samarkand
joined the group. The group passed through the southern route of the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
mountain ranges and entered Qinghai. They arrived at the present Guide County, and twelve of them settled there. The remaining 28 travellers met up with the Haraman group at Ganjiatan, and travelled to the present Xunhua
Xunhua
region. The group later found that the soil at the area was fertile and settled there since then. As time progressed, these Samarkand
Samarkand
people intermarried with the local Tibetan, Hui, Han Chinese
Han Chinese
and Mongols, eventually forming the Salar group.[4] The Koran
Koran
the Salars brought on their journey to China
China
is to this day still preserved in Xunhua
Xunhua
at Jiezi Mosque.[5] The Nanjing Museum has repaired the Koran
Koran
to protect it from decay.[6] Ming dynasty[edit] The Salar clan leaders voluntarily capitulated to the Ming dynasty around 1370. The chief of the four upper clans around this time was Han Baoyuan and the Ming government granted him office of centurion, it was at this time the people of his four clans took Han as their surname.[7] The other chief Han Shanba of the four lower Salar clans got the same office from the Ming government, and his clans were the ones who took Ma as their surname.[8] The ethnogenesis of the Salar started from when they pledged alleigance to the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
under their leader Han Bao.[9] Han Bao's father was Omar, and Omar's father was Garaman, who led the Salars on their journey from Central Asia
Central Asia
to China.[10] The Kargan Tibetans, who live next to the Salar, have mostly become Muslim
Muslim
due to the Salars. The Salar oral tradition recalls that it was around 1370 in which they came from Samarkand
Samarkand
to China.[11][12] The Salars were permitted an enormous amount of autonomy and self-rule by the Ming dynasty, which gave them command of taxes, military, and the courts.[13] The Ming and Qing dynasties often mobilized Salars into their militaries as soldiers, with the Ming government recruiting them at 17 different times for service and the Qing government at five different times.[14] Qing dynasty[edit] In the 1670s, the Kashgarian Sufi
Sufi
master Āfāq Khoja (and, possibly, his father Muhammad Yūsuf even earlier) preached among the Salars, introducing Sufism
Sufism
into their community.[15] In the mid-18th century, one of Āfāq Khoja's spiritual descendants, Ma Laichi, spread his teaching, known as Khufiyya
Khufiyya
among the Salars, just as he did among their Chinese-speaking and Tibetan-speaking neighbors.[16] Throughout the 1760s and 1770s, another Chinese Sufi
Sufi
master, Ma Mingxin, was spreading his version of Sufi
Sufi
teaching, known as Jahriyya throughout the Gansu
Gansu
province (which then included Salar's homeland in today's Qinghai). Many Salars became adherents of Jahriyya, or the "New Teaching", as the Qing government officials dubbed it (in opposition to the "Old Teaching", i.e. both the Khufiyya
Khufiyya
Sufi
Sufi
order and the non- Sufi
Sufi
Gedimu
Gedimu
Islam). While the external differences between the Khufiyya
Khufiyya
and the Jahriyya would look comparatively trivial to an outsider (the two orders were most known for, respectively, the silent or vocal dhikr, i.e. invocation of the name of God), the conflict between their adherents often became violent.[17] Sectarian violence between the Jahriyya and Khufiyya
Khufiyya
broke out repeatedly until the major episode of violence in 1781.[18] In 1781, the authorities, concerned with the spread of the "subversive" "New Teaching" among the Salars, whom they (perhaps unfairly) viewed as a fierce and troublesome lot, arrested Ma Mingxin
Ma Mingxin
and sent an expedition to the Salar community of Xunhua
Xunhua
County to round up his supporters there.[19] This started the 1781 Jahriyya Rebellion. The Jahriyya Salars of Xunhua, led by their ahong (imam) nicknamed Su Sishisan ("Su Forty-three", 苏四十三), responded by killing the government officials and destroying their task force at the place called Baizhuangzi, and then rushed across the Hezhou region to the walls of Lanzhou, where Ma Mingxin
Ma Mingxin
was imprisoned.[19] When the besieged officials brought Ma Mingxin, wearing chains, to the Lanzhou
Lanzhou
city wall, to show him to the rebels, Su's Salars at once showed respect and devotion to their imprisoned leaders. Scared officials took Ma down from the wall, and beheaded him right away. Su's Salars tried attacking the Lanzhou
Lanzhou
city walls, but, not having any siege equipment, failed to penetrate into the walled city. The Salar fighters (whose strength at the time is estimated by historians to be in 1,000-2,000 range) then set up a fortified camp on a hill south of Lanzhou.[19] Some Han Chinese, Hui, and Dongxiang (Santa) joined the Salar in the rebellion against the Qing.[20] To deal with the rebels, Imperial Commissioners Agui
Agui
and Heshen
Heshen
were sent to Lanzhou. Unable to dislodge the Salars from their fortified camp with his regular troops, Agui
Agui
sent the "incompetent" Heshen
Heshen
back to Beijing, and recruited Alashan Mongols
Mongols
and Southern Gansu
Gansu
Tibetans to aid the Lanzhou
Lanzhou
garrison. After a three months' siege of the rebel camp and cutting off the Salars' water supply, Agui's joint forces destroyed the Jahriya rebels; Su and all his fighters were all killed in the final battle.[19] Overall, it is said that as much as 40% of their entire population was killed in the revolt.[citation needed] As late as 1937, a folk ballad was still told by the Salars about the rebellion of 1781, and Su Sishisan suicidal decision to go to war against the Qing Empire.[21] The Qing government deported some of the Salar Jahriyya rebels to the Ili valley which is in modern-day Xinjiang. Today, a community of a few thousand Salars speaking a distinct dialect of Salar still live there. Salar migrants from Amdo (Qinghai) came to settle the region as religious exiles, migrants, and as soldiers enlisted in the Qing army to fight rebels in Ili, often following the Hui.[22] The distinctive dialect of the Ili Salar differs from the other Salar dialects because the neighboring Kazakh and Uyghur languages in Ili influenced it.[23] The Ili Salar population numbers around 4,000 people.[24] There have been instances of misunderstanding between speakers of Ili Salar and Qinghai
Qinghai
Salar due to the divergence of the dialects.[25] The differences between the two dialect result in a "clear isogloss".[26] In the 1880s-1890s, sectarian strife was rife in the Salar community of Xunhua
Xunhua
again. This time, the conflict was among two factions of the Hua Si menhuan (order) of the Khufiyya, and in 1895 the local Qing officials ended up siding with the reformist faction within the order. Although the factional conflict was evident not only in Salar Xunhua but in Hui Hezhou as well, the troops were first sent to Xunhua
Xunhua
- which again precipitated a Salar rebellion, which spread to many Hui and Dongxiang communities of Gansu
Gansu
too.[27][28] It turned into the Dungan Revolt (1895), which was crushed by a loyalist Hui army. The Hui people
Hui people
were also known as the "White capped" HuiHui used incense during worship, while the Salar, also known as "black capped" HuiHui considered this to be a heathen ritual and denounced it.[29] Republican China[edit] Like other Muslims in China, the Salars served extensively in the Chinese military. It was said that they and the Dongxiang were given to "eating rations", a reference to military service.[30] Modern era[edit]

This section needs expansion with: text. You can help by adding to it. (February 2011)

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Salar troops and officers served in the Qinghai
Qinghai
army of the Muslim
Muslim
general Ma Biao, and they battled extensively in bloody battles against the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
in Henan
Henan
province. In 1937, during the Battle of Beiping–Tianjin
Battle of Beiping–Tianjin
the Chinese government was notified by Muslim
Muslim
General Ma Bufang
Ma Bufang
of the Ma clique that he was prepared to bring the fight to the Japanese in a telegram message.[31] Immediately after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Ma Bufang
Ma Bufang
arranged for a cavalry division under Ma Biao to be sent east to battle the Japanese.[32] Salars made up the majority of the first cavalry division which was sent by Ma Bufang.[33] The Qinghai
Qinghai
Chinese, Salar, Chinese Muslim, Dongxiang, and Tibetan troops Ma Biao led fought to the death against the Japanese, or committed suicide refusing to be taken prisoner, instead, they committed suicide when cornered by the enemy. When they defeated the Japanese, Ma Biao's soldiers slaughtered all of them except for a few prisoners to send back to Qinghai
Qinghai
proved that they were victorious. In September 1940, when the Japanese made an offensive against the Muslim
Muslim
Qinghai
Qinghai
troops, the Muslims ambushed them and killed so many of them they were forced to retreat. The Japanese could not even pick up their dead, they instead cut an arm from their corpses limbs for cremation to send back to Japan. The Japanese did not dare make an offensive like that again.[34] The Salar General Han Youwen directed the defense of the city of Xining during air raids by Japanese planes. Han survived an aerial bombardment by Japanese planes in Xining while he was being directed via telephone from Ma Bufang, who hid in an air raid shelter in a military barracks. The bombing resulted in human flesh splattering a Blue Sky with a White Sun
Blue Sky with a White Sun
flag and Han being buried in rubble. Han Youwen was dragged out of the rubble while bleeding and he managed to grab a machine gun while he was limping and fired back at the Japanese warplanes and cursed the Japanese as dogs in his native Salar language. Han Youwen, a Salar general in the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
and member of the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
(Nationalist Party), defected to the Communist People's Liberation Army, serving in numerous military positions and as vice chairman of Xinjiang. He had led Chinese Muslim forces against Soviet and Mongol forces in the Pei-ta-shan Incident. Leonard Clark, the author of "The Marching Wind", met Salar officers in Qinghai
Qinghai
who had fought against the Japanese in World War II and were equipped with guns they seized from Japanese forces. Culture[edit]

Most Salars live in Qinghai
Qinghai
province

Quran of the Salar people

The Salar had their own unique kinship clanships. They are patrilineal, and exogamous, encouraging clan members to marry out, with marriage amongst clan members being banned.[35] The Salar are an entrepreneurial people, going into multiple businesses and industries.[36] They practice agriculture and horticulture.[37] They cultivate chili and pepper in their gardens.[38] Buckwheat, millet, wheat, and barley are among the crops they grow.[2] The typical clothing of the Salar very similar to other Muslim
Muslim
peoples in the region. The men are commonly bearded and dress in white shirts and white or black skullcaps. The traditional clothing for men is jackets and gowns.[37] The young single women are accustomed to dressing in Chinese dress of bright colors. The married women utilize the traditional veil in white or black colors. Originally girls were not allowed to be educated according to Salar tradition.[39] Muslim
Muslim
Salars and Muslim
Muslim
Hui people
Hui people
are against coeducation (grouping male and female students together) because they believe Islam forbids it, Uyghurs
Uyghurs
are the only Muslims in China
China
who do not mind coeducation and practice it. Secular education was given to girls.[40] They have a musical instrument called the Kouxuan. It is a string instrument manufactured in silver or in copper and only played by the women. The Salars have been in Qinghai, China
China
since the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. For centuries they've maintained their Oghuz language remarkably similar to the Turkmen language
Turkmen language
spoken in the Qaraqum. However, culturally they have strictly conformed to the Naqshbandi ways of their Hui coreligionists. Therefore, many nomadic Turkmen traditions have been lost, and Turkmen music was forbidden. More secular minded Salars have resorted to appropriating Tibetan or Moghol (a Qinghai
Qinghai
Mongolic Muslim
Muslim
group) music as their own. The ethnic Salars of Qinghai
Qinghai
celebrated on March 21, 2010 their first "Nowruz" in modern times, as a revived Turkmen holiday. Hui general Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang
recruited Salars into his army, and said they moved to China
China
since the Tang dynasty. His classification of them is in two groups, five inner clans, eight outer clans. Ma said the outer group speaks Tibetan, no longer knowing their native language. Salars only married other Salars. Uighurs have said that they were unable to understand the Salar language.[41] Ma and Han are the two most widespread names among the Salar. Ma is a Salar surname for the same reason it is a common Hui surname, Ma substitutes for Muhammad.[42][43] The upper four clans of the Salar assumed the surname Han and lived west of Xunhua.[44] One of these Salar surnamed Han was Han Yimu, a Salar officer who served under General Ma Bufang. He fought in the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
Islamic Insurgency in China
China
(1950–1958), leading Salars in a revolt in 1952 and 1958.[45][46] Ma Bufang, enlisted Salars as officers in his army by exclusively targeting Xunhua
Xunhua
and Hualong as areas to draw officers from.[47] Westerners who encountered Salars said that they were racially mixed, of Turkic, Mongol, Tibetan, Han Chinese, and Hui descent, and had features from these different races.[48] During the Qing dynasty, according to the Encyclopædia of religion and ethics the akhunds of the Salar spoke Persian, and the Salar commonly consumed alcohol in addition to knowing the Arabic script. They wore Chinese attire.[49] Singing is part of Salar culture.[50][51] A style of singing called Hua'er is shared among the Han, Hui, Salar, and Tibetans
Tibetans
in Qinghai province. Matchmakers and parents arrange marriages among the Salar.[52] In Amdo, Salar language has heavy Chinese and Tibetan influence. It was originally Turkic, but major linguistic structures have been absorbed from Chinese. Around 20% of the vocabulary is of Chinese origin, and 10% is also of Tibetan origin. Yet the official Communist Chinese government policy deliberately covers up these influences in academic and linguistics studies, trying to emphasize the Turkic element and completely ignoring the Chinese in the Salar language.[53] The Salar use the Chinese writing system since they do not have their own.[54] The Turkic origins of the Salars have been stressed by Chinese writings while non-Turkic influences like Chinese Muslim, Tibetan, and Mongol elements in Salar have been almost completely disregarded.[14] Language[edit] Main article: Salar language

Salar Flag[citation needed]

The people of China
China
and Salar themselves regard the Salar language as a Tujue
Tujue
language (突厥語言).[55] The Salar language has two large dialect groups. The divergence is due to the fact that one branch in Xunhua
Xunhua
county of Qinghai
Qinghai
province and Gansu
Gansu
province was influenced by the Tibetan languages and Chinese, and the other branch in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture by the Uyghur and Kazakh languages.[56] In the late 1990s, it was estimated that out of the some 89,000 Salars, around 60,000 spoke the Salar language.[57] The Salar do not use any written script for the Salar language,[38] instead using Chinese characters for practical purposes.[51][58][59][60] Salar serves as their spoken language, while Chinese serves them as a both spoken and written language.[61] China offered the Salar an official writing system but it was rejected. The Salars favor the continued use of Chinese characters which shows their "strong attachment to being citizens of the Chinese state".[62] Many of the current generation of Salars are fluent in Chinese.[63] In Amdo (Qinghai), Salar language has heavy Chinese and Tibetan influence. Although of Turkic origin, major linguistic structures have been absorbed from Chinese. Around 20% of the vocabulary is of Chinese origin, and 10% is also of Tibetan origin.[citation needed] Yet, according author and French politics
French politics
expert William Safran, the official Communist Chinese government policy deliberately covers up these influences in academic and linguistics studies, trying to emphasize the Turkic element and completely ignoring the Chinese in the Salar language.[64] The Salar use the Chinese writing system since they do not have their own.[65] Salar language has taken loans and influence from neighboring Chinese varieties.[66] It is neighboring variants of Chinese which have loaned words to the Salar language.[67] In Qinghai, many Salar men speak both the Qinghai
Qinghai
dialect of Chinese and Salar. Rural Salars can speak Salar fluently while urban Salars often assimilate into the Chinese speaking Hui population.[68] In addition to Chinese, many Salar also speak Tibetan. Salar is a written language, as Ma et al. (2001) demonstrate, but the written language is rarely used. There are reported similarities with Turkmen.[citation needed] In Ili Salar, the i and y high front vowels, when placed after an initial glides are spirantized with j transforming into ʝ.[69] Qinghai
Qinghai
and Ili Salar have mostly the same consonantal development.[70] Genetics[edit] The East Asian O3-M122 Y chromosome Haplogroup is found in large quantities in other Muslims close to the Hui like Dongxiang, Bo'an and Salar. The majority of Tibeto-Burmans, Han Chinese, and Ningxia
Ningxia
and Liaoning Hui share paternal Y chromosomes of East Asian origin which are unrelated to Middle Easterners and Europeans. In contrast to distant Middle Eastern and Europeans whom the Muslims of China
China
are not related to, East Asians, Han Chinese, and most of the Hui and Dongxiang of Linxia share more genes with each other. This indicates that native East Asian populations converted to Islam and were culturally assimilated to these ethnicities and that Chinese Muslim populations are mostly not descendants of foreigners as claimed by some accounts while only a small minority of them are.[71] Literature[edit]

Ma Jianzhong and Kevin Stuart. 1996. ‘Stone Camels and Clear Springs’: The Salar’s Samarkand
Samarkand
Origins. Asian Folklore Studies 55(2):287-298. Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Kevin Stuart, editors. 2001. Folklore of China’s Islamic Salar Nationality. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen. Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Kevin Stuart. 1999. The Xunhua
Xunhua
Salar Wedding. Asian Folklore Studies 58:31-76. Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Kevin Stuart. 1999. The Xunhua
Xunhua
Salar Wedding. Asian Folklore Studies 58:31-76. Lipman, Jonathan Neaman (1998). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-468-6.  Tenišev, E.R: Stroj salarskogo âzyka (The structure of the Salar language). Moscow, Nauka 1976). Lin Lianyun (林莲云): 汉撒拉、撒拉汉词汇 (Chinese-Salar Salar-Chinese lexicon. Chengdu, People's Press of Sichuan. 1992.

References[edit]

 This article incorporates text from The Geographical journal, Volume 3, by Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain), a publication from 1894 now in the public domain in the United States.  This article incorporates text from The Geographical journal, Volume 3., a publication from 1894 now in the public domain in the United States.  This article incorporates text from The Catholic encyclopedia: an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline, and history of the Catholic Church, Volume 3, by Knights of Columbus. Catholic Truth Committee, a publication from 1913 now in the public domain in the United States.  This article incorporates text from The Moslem World, Volume 10, by Christian Literature Society for India, Hartford Seminary Foundation, a publication from 1920 now in the public domain in the United States.  This article incorporates text from Encyclopædia of religion and ethics, Volume 8, by James Hastings, John Alexander Selbie, Louis Herbert Gray, a publication from 1916 now in the public domain in the United States.

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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Salar people.

The Salar ethnic minority (Chinese government site) [1] posted by Salar people Arienne M. Dwyer: Salar Grammatical Sketch (PDF) Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Kevin Stuart, editors. 2001. Folklore of China’s Islamic ` Nationality. Lewiston, Edwin Mellen. Ma Quanlin, Ma Wanxiang, and Ma Zhicheng (Kevin Stuart, editor). 1993. Salar Language Materials. Sino-Platonic Papers. Number 43. Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Kevin Stuart. 1999. The Xunhua
Xunhua
Salar Wedding. Asian Folklore Studies 58:31-76. Ma Jianzhong and Kevin Stuart. 1996. ‘Stone Camels and Clear Springs’: The Salar’s Samarkand
Samarkand
Origins. Asian Folklore Studies. 55:2, 287-298. Han Deyan (translated by Ma Jianzhong and Kevin Stuart). 1999. The Salar Khazui System. Central Asiatic Journal 43 (2): 204-214. Feng Lide and Kevin Stuart. 1991. Ma Xueyi and Ma Chengjun. Salazu Fengsuzhi [Records of Salar Customs]; Han Fude, general editor. Salazu Minjian Gushi [Salar Folktales]; Han Fude, general editor. Minjian Geyao [Folk Songs]; and Han Fude, general editor. Minjian Yanyu [Folk Proverbs]. Asian Folklore Studies. 50:2, 371-373.

v t e

Ethnic groups in China

Sino-Tibetan

Sinitic

Han Bai Hui

Burmic

Achang Hani Jino Lahu Lisu Nu Yi

Qiangic

Nakhi Pumi Qiang

Others

Derung Jingpo Lhoba Monpa Tibetan Tujia

Austroasiatic

Blang Gin Palaung Va

Hmong-Mien

Miao

Hmong

She Yao

Mongolic

Bonan Daur Dongxiang Mongol Monguor Yugur

Tai-Kadai

Bouyei Dai Dong Gelao Li Maonan Mulao Sui Zhuang

Tungusic

Evenk Manchu Nanai Oroqen Sibe

Turkic

Kazakh Kyrgyz Salar Tatar Uyghur Uzbek Yugur

Unrecognized

Lai Deng Gejia Utsul Khmu Macanese Mang Jews

Others

Filipinos Gaoshan Japanese Koreans Russian Tajik

Unrecognized ethnic groups in China
China
· Immigrant ethnic groups in China
China
· Historic ethnic groups

v t e

Turkic peoples

Altays Afshar Azerbaijanis Balkars Bashkirs Bulaqs Bulgars Chelkans Chulyms Chuvash Crimean Karaites Crimean Tatars Cumans Dolgans Dughlats Gagauz Iraqi Turkmen Karachays Karakalpaks Karluks Kazakhs Khakas Khalajs Khazars Khorasani Turks Kimek Kipchaks Kryashens Krymchaks Kumandins Kumyks Kyrgyz Lipka Tatars Meskhetian Turks Mishar Tatars

Finnish Tatars

Nağaybäk Naimans Nogais Oghuz Turks Qarapapaqs Qashqai Qizilbash Salar Siberian Tatars Shatuo Shors Syrian Turkmen Telengits Teleuts Tofalar Tubalar Turgesh Turks (proper)

diaspora

Turkmens Tuvans Uyghurs Uzbeks Volga Tatars Yakuts Yugur

Italics indicate extinct group

Authority control

LCCN: sh92000830 BNF: cb1351

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