TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS
boundary commission are in the wild Wa country. The village which took the heads was very severely punished, annihilated in fact, as far as houses were concerned, but the officersa heads were not recovered. There is a very rich silver mine and a traditionally rich gold mine in the Wa country.
The Wa have relations in the Riang tribes, who inhabit the central plain of the Shan
or Palaungs. They are the great tea-growers of the Northern Shan States, and are very pious and quite unprincipled. Both the Wa and the Palaung deny any connection with one another, but they are convicted out of their own mouths. The Rumai have a Sawbwa of their own, and the state is called Loilong Tawngpeng, but there are scattered settlements far and wide in other parts of the
A SHAN PRINCESS.
Shans, and are fond of dancing and marching to these airs. The Lahu are very migratory, and have already pushed advance settlements far down into the Siamese Tai States. Apparently they were originally, or at one time, Buddhists, but have reverted to Animistic worship. Their places of worship are very like Confucian temples in their simplicity, these are called fu-fang, and fu is the Chinese name for a Buddha. The northern settlements have a kind of ideographic writing which the southern emigrants have lost. There is a sub-tribe called the Kwi, just as there is a sub-tribe of the Akha, called Ahko, a number of them have of recent years been converted to Christianity, by the American Baptist Missionaries.
The other main Trans-Salween hill tribe is the Wa, or Vu. Unlike the other mountain dwellers, they have a compact territory of their own, extending for about a hundred miles along the east bank of the Salween River, from the Kun-long ferry southwards. There are, moreover, scattered settlements throughout the Kengtung State, and extending down into Siamese territory. It seems conclusively proved that they at one time held the whole of Kengtung State, and perhaps much to the south. They are Mon-hkmers, and since there is no reason to dispute the claims of the wild Wa, of the true Wa country, to be autochthonous, it may be that this is the first home of the Mon-hkmers. They are quite a fascinating problem. They were believed, until quite recent years, to be cannibals. This was disproved in 1893 by the only British expedition, the only known expedition, that has ever crossed the wild Wa country. They are certainly head-hunters, and in 1908 are recorded to have secured 87 Chinese skulls, besides others. In the wild Wa country every village has its skull avenue outside the village, and at least one skull ought to be added to this every year, if the crops are not to be a failure. Their villages have ramparts and deep fosses round them, and are entered by long tunnel gates. They are very industrious cultivators, live mostly on broad beans, make their own clothesawhat there is of themaand grow enormous quantities of poppy. The resultant opium they barter with enterprising Chinamen in the intermediate Wa country for salt, a few guns, and iron to make head-chopping knives. In the intermediate Wa country the skulls of animals take the place of human skulls. Many of the so-called tame Was have been converted by the American missionaries. All the other Wa are spirit worshippers. It is galling to have to record that the skulls of two British members of a
States between Mong-nai and South Hsenwi. These are harmless and colourless people. The Yang Wan-hkun have a very effective dance with a bamboo band. The Yang Lam are beginning to dress like the Shans, and to claim to be Shans. Perhaps this is because the womenas dress was by no means effective, at any rate, in the matter of colour.
Other relations of the Wa are the Rumai,
Tai country. The women wear huge coils of rattan rings round their waists, silver torques, or neck-rings, and skirts panelled with gay insets, and the women of some of the clans wear a part-coloured hood, or cerf. Besides growing tea, they are great pony breeders.
Along with the Palaungs, stretching along the northern border of the Northern Shan States, the Chingpaw, or Kachins, are theAlong with the Palaungs, stretching along the northern border of the Northern Shan States, the Chingpaw, or Kachins, are the