Tibetan, Boyu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Tibetan, Boyu only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Boyu Tibetans are a distinct ethnolinguistic people group. As one visitor remarked, "their language and costume is now very different from Tibetans elsewhere." During festivals, Boyu women wear special dress, unique among all Tibetan peoples. "A breastplate is made of around five to six thousand coral beads, and an enormous silver medallion at waist level - known as meilong. ... The body of the medallion is scattered with motifs executed in colored enamels, including Tibetan Buddhist symbols and talismans to ward off evil spirits." The Boyu are ethnolinguistically distinct from other Tibetans in the area.


The Boyu women's special costume "is thought to be associated in some way with the army of Tubo, the Tibetan kingdom which was founded by Songtsen Gampo in 629 and lasted for around two hundred years. ... Legend has it that the forebears of the Boyu Tibetans were soldiers from the hinterland of Tibet who were sent to guard the border areas. However, they began to farm the land and eventually decided to settle there."


The Flower-Gathering Festival of the Boyu is unique to this one small area. It takes place annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. "They believe if they drink the spring water on the mountain before the sun touches it ... it will keep them free from disease. And if they bathe in the water, all evil will be kept from them."


During the Flower-Gathering Festival the Boyu worship Lianzhi, the goddess of flowers. One of their legends relates that the Boyu lived in abject poverty in ancient times. Touched by their misery, "the gods eventually took pity and sent a young girl, Lianzhi, from heaven to teach them how to reclaim land and grow crops, how to spin and weave cloth. This went on until one year ... she went into the mountains to gather flowers ... and never came back. The people made offerings to her and named her the Goddess of Flowers."


There are only a handful of known Christians among the Boyu Tibetans today, although the Christian and Missionary Alliance worked in nearby Min Xian prior to 1949. The missionaries, who first arrived in 1889, included William Christie, W. W. Simpson, Robert Ekvall, Calvin Snyder, and William Ruhl.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-07-02
Video Links:
Good News For You
People Name General Tibetan, Boyu (Bo-yuu)
People Name in Country Tibetan, Boyu
Population in China 4,200
World Population 4,200
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Boyu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Tibetan, Boyu (Bo-yuu)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18696
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 The Boyu Tibetans live in the large Boyu Village in Zhugqu County. Zhugqu is within the Gaanan Prefecture in poverty-stricken Gansu Province. They live atop a 3,000- meter-high (9,840 ft.) mountain. "Boyu is located at the heart of a complex of high peaks and deep ravines, and the paths along which they climb lead through magnificent scenery… dotted with all kinds of flowers: azaleas, camellias, peonies, wolf-berries.".   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Central (4,200)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Central 4,200
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Central

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1862-1991)
New Testament Yes   (1885-1973)
Complete Bible Yes   (1948)
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Fathers Love Letter Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Central Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
The Hope Video Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
30.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.15 %)
0.15 %
Ethnic Religions
68.85 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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