Monday, May 5, 2014




Rachel Harris, Yasin Mukhpul: Music of the Uyghurs. Encyclopedia of the Turks, vol. 6. Istanbul: Yeni Turkiye, pp542-9

Jerry H. Bentley and Herbert R. Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.
Bovingdon 2004

Richard W. Bulliet et al., eds. The Earth and its Peoples: A Global History. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.
Chabrier 1960 

Academic Journals:


Zhang, S., Xu, M., Li, X., Fang, H., Yang, S., & Liu, J. (2013). Implicit Trust between the Uyghur and the Han in Xinjiang, China. Plos ONE, 8(8), 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071829

Ablimit, A., Wenbei, Q., Wenjuan, S., Weiwei, W., Fengjun, L., Ling, K. H., & ... Xiufen, Z. (2013). Genetic diversities of cytochrome B in Xinjiang Uyghur unveiled its origin and migration history. BMC Genetics, 14(1), 1-20. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-100

Uyghur Wedding

Uyghur Wedding celebrations are at the brides home. They are done by the community imam. The brides family thoroughly cleans the house beforehand and they prepare a meal which includes marmalade, bread, fruits, sugar, and pasties. Only close family and friends are invited.
Before the celebration, the bride asks her family for the blessing and she says her farewells. During the encounter with the imam, the bride and groom are both asked if they accept the other to be their spouse. They are asked three times. The bride must answer quietly, while the groom must answer loudly. To symbolize their love, loyalty, and new life, they then share a piece of bread. The first one to take the bread is considered to be more loyal. The groom then goes home with his family to prepare for the rest of the celebration. Next comes the time when the groom arrives at the brides house accompanied by his friends which are playing the tambourine, suona, and the rawap while chanting! The brides family blocks the entrance into the home while the groom and his friends try to push their way through the door. Before allowing them entering, the groom must give gifts. The entertainment follows. When the bride leaves the home, she is expected to cry. The wedding then moves its progress to the grooms house where he lifts the brides vail. Songs are sung to wish the couple happiness and praise the bride for her beauty. This is when the feasting begins. After the feast there is plenty of dancing to celebrate.

Uyghur Fashion

When it comes to clothing in the Uyghur culture, cotton is a big hit. The woman generally wear long, bright, colorful gowns with baggy sleeves. They accent these with a vest and sometimes a scarf as well.
Although this is a common look amongst all, the details of how they dress var by age. Younger, more modern girls wear tunic dresses or long sweaters and they will wear leggings underneath or skinny jeans. On the other hand, the younger, most conservative girls wear cardigans with an over the knee skirt and high boots.They also wear flowered head scarves in a pirate style. Now, as for the middle aged woman, they wear long coats over long skirts. Sequins and sparkles are common to accent the skirts. These woman also wear head scarves. Older woman wear black coats made of fake fur or mink. Over their head and shoulders, they wear cotton or wool shawls that are draped. They almost can be considered to be in uniform in a sense. middle aged woman and older woman tend to wear darker colors.
Men also wear gowns but they have a scarf that is tied around their waists. The younger men may wear striped sweaters that have a few random words across them. On the bottom they may wear corduroys,denim jeans, or dark slacks. They may wear basketball shoes or they may wear pointy brown semi-dress shoes. For middle aged men, they wear dark slacks and corduroys as well. With that they wear dark jackets and also semi-dress shoes. Hats are a must for them. As for older men, they wear wools coats over dark slacks. On the feet, they wear thick leather shoes or felt boots. Hats are also a must for them.

Caps are a main accessory for the Uyghur's. Caps are very important to them. Woman dress their caps up by putting designs on them.
Accessorizing is basically a necessity for the woman in this culture. They love jewelry such as necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
Most woman have very long hair and a lot of them keep it braided. The braids are a significant look to distinguish the Uyghur woman. Single woman may have many braids while married woman can only have two of them.

The woman also wear a lot of makeup. The more glitz and glam, the better!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Uyghur Music & Dance

Music plays a big role in the lives of the Uyghur's. Since way back when, the Uyghur's have been known for their extraordinary music & their ethnic dances. Music is played at every event that is hosted whether it be a party, a wedding, a festival, or just a holiday. Not only is there music, but of course there is dancing as well!
The most well known genre of music is the Muqam. Muqam is a compilation of songs, dances, and folk/classical music. Some songs are solo while others are in unison. There are groups and duets. It is characterized by its diversity of not only content but also the instruments used as well as the dance styles and the musical morphology. The Muqam genre of music is associated with a variety of aspects such as mood, style, smell, pitch, tone of voice, time/place, and also the person. It tends to be known for the variations and the continuity of musical patterns. The songs are reflective among proverbs, poetry, folk narrative, love, and other popular topics.
Muqam can be broken down into four different categories. These categories include Twelve Muqam, Dolan Muqam, Turfan Muqam, and Qumul Muquam. The "mother of music" is Twelve Muquam. It is based around the concept of wisdom. It also is based around the talent of the Uyghur people regarding music.
Uyghur dance is very optimistic. It represents bravery and openness. It is characterized by its distinct wrist movements and head movements. The dances, as a whole, represent the character of the Uyghur's and it expresses their feelings. They have great coordination. They involve a specific posture which usually includes a tilted head, a chest thrust, and an ejected waist. Some folk dances include a shivering movement of the knees.

Props are involved in some folk dances. They are popular but they include great skill and talent. With this being said, they are generally performed by professionals. Some of these dances include the Plate dance, Sapayi dance, and Stone-Beating dance. The plate dance is when a bowl is placed on top of the head and a plate is held and beaten with chopsticks. Sapayi is a folk instrument. Stone-beating is holding two stones in separate hands and hitting them together to produce sound.

Sanam is the most popular folk dance. It is often performed at weddings or festivals. Dolan dance is much like hunting or a battle. Sama dance is usually done to bring in the New Year. It can be considered a ritual that turns into a group celebration.

Uyghur Cultural Survival

Uyghur’s face many obstacles. A main obstacle they come across is being accused of being terrorist. This is something they have to deal with everyday and learn to overcome. They also have to face their ongoing war with the Chinese for their freedom. Separatism is a big issue for them. They are accused of having links to Central Asian and Pakistani Islamist militants, and of carrying out attacks to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.
Currently, the Uyghur’s are facing the link between them and the missing Malaysian airplane.
Movement of the Uyghur’s from rural areas to towns has had a major imact on the ethnic identity but they still manage to maintain it by keeping their traditions the same and practicing their religion. In a way the movement actually strengthens their identity. Keeping their language unique to them also is something that maintains their identity as well. To do this, they stay inside their own region and they have strong social groups.


Uyghur Migrations and Diaspora

Xijiang is the homeland of the Uyghur's because China encourages internal migration into that province to increase the non-Uyghur population elsewhere. Most of the Uyghur's that reside outside of China are in Central Asia and the population has also spread throughout Eastern Asia as well. These minorities are mostly in Kazakhstan but some are also in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikstan. As a whole, the Uyghur diaspora numbers at around 550-650,000.
The Uyghur's generally migrated from China in waves. This was due to the deteriorating conditions following the collapse of the dynasties. Uyghur diaspora communities have formed associations aimed at preserving Uyghur collective identity such as the language and the culture.