Naxi, Northern in China

Joshua Project has identified the Naxi, Northern only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language


The Naxi, Mosuo, Pumi, and Lisu

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download


The Northern Naxi are linguistically distinct from other groups of Naxi in China, including those who live in Zhongdian County. The Northern Naxi also possess a different style of dress and customs from their counterparts in Lijiang. The Northern Naxi, including those inside Tibet, still proudly identify themselves as members of the Naxi nationality.


Today's various branches of the Naxi nationality in China, including the Mosuo, Naru, and Naheng, all share the same migration stories. They claim they originated on the Tibetan Plateau and migrated en masse approximately 1,000 years ago in search of better pasturelands. The Northern Naxi claim they came to live in their present location by two means. Firstly, during the original migration certain families who had fallen sick or weak were left behind while the main body continued their journey south. They settled down along the banks of the Lancang River and gradually formed into communities. Secondly, the Northern Naxi say Naxi soldiers from Lijiang were sent north in the past to guard the fertile valleys from invaders and bandits. Many of these soldiers stayed behind in the area.


To an outsider, there is little to visually distinguish the Northern Naxi from neighboring Tibetans today. The Northern Naxi wear Tibetan clothing.


The Northern Naxi are comprised of several interesting religious elements. Most follow Tibetan Buddhism. Ancestors are also worshiped and revered. In addition, a small number of Northern Naxi have converted to Catholicism.


Between 50 and 100 Catholic believers are found among the Northern Naxi. Most of them meet in Deqen Tibetan churches, including one church at Yanjing, just inside Tibet, which contains more than 700 ethnic Tibetan believers and a small number of Northern Naxi.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Naxi, Northern (Na-shee)
People Name in Country Naxi, Northern
Population in China 3,300
World Population 3,300
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Naxi, Northern (Na-shee)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18631
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country According to the 1990 census, 2,309 Northern Naxi live in the highlands between Yunnan and the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China. They inhabit villages on both banks of the Lancang (Mekong) River. Near the source of its origin, the river is crystal clear and narrow. By the time it spills into the ocean in Vietnam it is a vast, dirty waterway that measures 11 kilometers (6.8 mi.) wide at its broadest point. The majority of Northern Naxi (1,236) live in Markam County just inside the Tibet Autonomous Region. An additional 1,073 live in Deqen County in northern Yunnan Province..   Source:  Operation China, 2000

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Naxi (3,300)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Naxi 3,300

For Main Lanugage: Naxi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1932)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
90.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.20 %)
4.00 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
5.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
95.0 %
Photo Source: Jack Hollingsworth, OMF International   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Asia Harvest
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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