Lhoba people distributes in a large area, from Zayu to Moinyu in the west and up to Lhoyu
in the Sino-Indian border in the south. In 1965, the State Council of China approved the
name of this people as "Lhoyu", which means the South; Lhoba means southerners.
Before that, this part was called "the land of barbarians".
The people of Lhoba people have their language but they have no
characters. As they live in different regions, Lhoba people are divided into almost 100
tribes, such as Ruyidu, Zhana, Kaluo, Galuo, Mixinba, Miguba, Jianbo, Deluo etc. All
tribes have their stories about their origin. From their folk tales, we can get to know
that Lhoba people comes from one or more ancient tribes living in the south of the
Dense forests cover the place inhabited by Lhoba people in the Great
Canyon. Lhoba people led a life of hunting quite a long time ago. They did not grow plants
and weave any cloth. They wear the skins of animals in winter and tree leaves in summer.
Later on, Lhoba people started to farm by way of slash-and-burn cultivation. Hunting
gradually retreated to secondary place. They would select woods far away from their
dwelling place where the sunlight is sufficient; they cut down the plants from November to
the next February and have them suntanned. At this place, the dry season is from March to
May each year, the head of the family clan or the tribe would give orders to set on fire
to the trees and bushes they cut down. The fire would last 4 to 5 days within a range of
2-3 days walk. One week after, they would start to plant seeds. Crops with high stalks are
planted by sticking a hole on the ground; small grains are planted by way of throwing and
covering with soil. They would only wipe out the weeds one time before the crops grow
ears, then they would wait to harvest the crops.
They will go hunting in their spare time. Lhoba people are famous for their skills
in hunting. The hunting time of a healthy man is as long as 30-40 years. They usually use
bows in hunting; they also use powder guns sometimes. Lhoba people encourage military
spirits. All adult men have their beloved bows. They practice shooting from childhood and
most of them are dead shots. They have poisons on their arrows. If an arrow hit
large-sized beasts such as buffalos or bears, the beast would die within 100 yards. No
animal could escape if it is shot.