The Tribes of Burma/Riangs

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The Riangs

It is possible that the Riangs or Yins are nothing more or le-s than a southern branch of the Palaungs. Their country adjoins that of the Palaungs. They speak a language closely resembling Palaung and, like the Palaungs, they are Buddhists. Of the three Riang tribes—the Yanglam, the Yangwankun and the Yanghsek—the first two wear a dress (women's) that has many features in common with the Palaung woman's garb—jacket,[1] skirt and, in some cases, waist rings, The Yanghsek, on the other hand, who are the southernmost of the three and live in the neighbourhood of the Karen country, have adopted a dress that is more Karen in its characteristics and might well lead the casual observer to classify them as Karens, The main garment is a striped thindaing and brass leg rings are worn after the fashion that culminates further south, in the clumsy leg ornaments of the Red Karens. The habitat of the Riangs is the eastern portion of the northern half of the Cis-Salween Southern Shan States, from Kebsi Mansam southwards to Mongsit. Like the Palaungs they are a quiet, peaceable folk. They have been but little studied hitherto. Such data of the tribe as have been recorded are mentioned in the note at page 93. The total of Yins at the 1901 Census was 3,094, practically all of whom were enumerated in the Southern Shan States. So far as is known there are no Riangs outside British territory.

  1. The upper garment has always been described by observers as a jacket, but appears in reality to be frequently a smock designed and ornamented in almost exactly the same style as the smock worn by the women of the Katurr clan of Palaungs. The Yanglam women part their hair in the middle in exactly the same way as the women of the Kwanhai clan of Palaungs.