The Xibe (Sibe; ) are an ethnic group living mostly in northeast China and Xinjiang. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.
The Xibe originally lived on the Nonni
river valleys in central Manchuria
. They are known as one of the nine states that were defeated by Nurhaci
in the Battle of Gure
in 1593. They were under loose domination of the Khorchin
Mongols even after the Khorchin came under the control of the Manchu Qing Dynasty
The Xibe started to make direct contact with the Qing Dynasty when it conducted military campaigns against Russia. They provided logistical support to the Qing. In 1692, the Khorchin dedicated the Xibe, the Gūwalca and the Daur to the Kangxi Emperor in exchange for silver. The Xibe was incorporated into the Eight Banners and were stationed in Qiqihar and other cities in Manchuria.
After conquering Eastern Turkestan, the Qianlong Emperor garrisoned part of the Xibe there in 1764 to defend the new frontier. They formed a community in the Qapqal region south of the Ili River.
The traditional dress of the Xibe was similar to the traditional dress of the Manchus
. Nowadays almost all the Xibe wear Western clothing and the traditional clothing is worn by elders during festivals.
Traditionally, the Xibe were divided into hala, clans consisting of people who shared the same surname. Until modern times, the dwellings of the Xibe housed up to three different generations from a same family, since it was believed that while the father was alive no son could break the family clan and to leave the house.
The Xibe in northeast China speak Chinese
as their first language
. In Xinjiang, descendants of the Qing dynasty
military garrison preserve their language, which is an innovative dialect of the Manchu
. Unlike the Manchu language
, the Xibe language is reported to have eight vowel distinctions as opposed to the six found in Manchu, differences in morphology, and a complex kind of vowel harmony. The general vocabulary and structure of Xibe has not been affected as much by the influence of Chinese as Manchu has been. However, there are a number of Chinese loanwords, and a large body of sociological terminology, such as gəming
(revolution) and gungshə
(commune), have been borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the everyday vocabulary of the language. They use the Xibe script
, a slightly revised Manchu script
- Wu Yuanfen, Zhao Zhiqiang. 1981. "Xibozu xiqian gaishu" [A general account of the westward migration of the Xibo]. Minzu yanjiu 2:22-29.
- Ramsey, S. Robert. 1987. The Languages of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton New Jersey ISBN 0-691-06694-9
- C. G. Mannerheimin Valokuvia Aasian-Matkalta 1906-1908 (Photographs By C. G. Mannerheim From His Journey Across Asia 1906-1908), (Otava, Keuruu: 1990) ISBN: 9511113577. Contains photographs of Xibe/Xibo and other ethnic groups.