The History & Culture of The Lisu Hill Tribe

By | November 16, 2012

Lisu Hill Tribe, Northern Thailand

The Lisu hill tribe originated from Yunnan, China via Burma, and started their migration to Thailand around 100 years ago.

It is estimated that there are around 25,000 now in Thailand.Their villages can be found near Chiang Dao, Pai and Phrao near the border with Burma.

The villages can vary considerably in size, and houses may be raised on stilts or built on the ground.Extended families with married sons may live in the same house.

This tribe is renowned as being competitive and thus are outgoing, social and hard working.

Lisu Hill Tribe, Northern Thailand

Each village has a shrine for a guardian spirit set above the village.There are spirits for the ancestors and several other entities such as water, trees, the sun and the moon. Priests will officiate at ceremonies involving the village guardian, while shamans dispel spirits causing sickness.

Lisu costumes of the ‘flowery’ sub-group found Mainly in Thailand are very distinct. The women wear a knee length tunic of light blue or green cloth, often with red sleeves.

The upper sleeves of the women’s tunic and a yoke of black cloth are heavily decorated with many bands of bright cloth. The women also wear plain belts from which hang multicolored tassels.

The men wear trousers made of the same blue or green cloth, while their jackets are often of plain black material.