Baiyu County of Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture of Ganrze, 1000 kilometers away from Chengdu, is
located in the western part of Sichuan Province, the southeast of
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the east size of upper Jinsha River. It
borders with the Xinlong, Batang, Litang, Garze, Dege counties of
Garze Prefecture, and it faces Gonjo and Jomda counties of Tibet
across the Jinsha River. Most of the residents are Tibetan.
This land, with unique physiognomy, large dumping height and
obvious vertical distribution are abundant in underground
resources. The wooded area leads the largest acreage in all
counties of Southern China. It also contains abundant resources of
rare metal, valuable and rare animals, plants and medicinal herbs.
In deep mountains on both banks of the Jinshajiang River at
the Sichuan-Tibet border, there live some Tibetans of patriarchal
clan. Given this situation, such primitive form of social
organization is still full of life even today. They worship the
Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Gorba organizations are formed according to surnames or
occupations. Most of them are located in the Gaiyu, Shama
and Shanyan townships of Baiyu County. Some others are
found in Gongjor County in eastern Tibet, which faces Baiyu County
across the Jinshajiang River
House in Shanyan
The villagers built up their house with
other families, 20 meters high with four to five floors and
two-meter-thick wall. Each peel has only one door, decorated with
auspicious totem. The first floor is stall for cattle. A whole
trunk stair of Tibetan style connects the ground floor with the
second floor. Generally, each step longs 0.33 meter and the stair
has 17 or 19 steps. It must be singular number. In the middle of
the second floor, there are five stairs lead to different
The second is a big kitchen, also, used as a bedroom and living
room. There are ram pot, stone-made milling tools and hearth.
After the guests come in, the host will arrange the seat opposite
the door and near the hearth, and take out wine and beef to
entertain them. In the kitchen, there is still an attic for
brewing and ferment. They put an amount of distiller's yeast in
the jar, which store full provision, and cover the vessel by wheat
straws. After certain days, there will be a jar of mellow wine.
The third floor is special for store up foodstuff and valuables.
The forth floor is designed to store fresh harvested foodstuff and
livestock's fodder in winter. The roof can be also used as the
place to thresh gain. Also, the roof is used as an artery
connecting several families.
Shangyan located in the south of Baiyu
County, covers an area of 400 sq. kilometers, with 390 families
and 2161 residents. Shanyan, is the transliteration of Tibetan
language, which means arduous topography. Geba, alas "pa-cuo",
means organization of patrilineal society. According to the
historical materials, before the Zhao Erfeng reoccupied Shanyan,
here was still in primitive society, and never obey to Tibet or
the Han people.
Even today, there is a story spreading in Shanyan village:
Shanyan's 45th progenitor had four brothers. One day, mud-rock
flow devoured their village, so the four brothers had to escape in
their own way. Mengribu, one of them, stranded to Shanyan and was
entrenched here as his loot base.. Later, he founded Huoye-geba,
means "big eagle". In Geba, whether you are rich or
poor, under the sun ,"all Geba are one family".
Gorba means a group of fathers. Varied in size, all Gorba groups
are equal and mind their own business. Also as an economic entity,
Gorba may have dozens of households.
Only male can be the member of Geba. A boy of patrilineal lines,
is a member since he was born. He has the right to take art in the
meeting to make decisions for Geba and enjoys the public rights
and obligations. He can advise whether have fight or peace talks
with other groups of people, how to allot the captures, how to
inherit the belongings of those families without man, etc.
Female hasn't the right to be the member of Geba. But they must
fulfill their obligations for Geba: keep the secret and obey the
The leader is not hereditary, but selected by all members
according to his capability and experience. He must be eloquent,
acting as the meeting preside .He hasn't any privileges. They
adopt the minority subordinate to the majority.
With the increasing fights and enemies, men have to hide
themselves at home and do some housewifery. So, they are always
good at needlework and sewing. While staying at home, the drink
and chat with friends. Women are engaged in farming, collecting
firewood from hill, carrying water and other burdensome labor.
Geba never kill woman in fighting and revenge, or, he will degrade
himself and haze his repute.
Whoever can seize the most properties will be the most respectable
man .All trophy/boot are divided equally. If you break the moral
code, you will be punished heavily, even be sentenced to death.
Every year, all Geba members will gather together to swear their
loyalty to their group. At this meeting, the elder will narrate
the development history and jihad history of Geba, to continue
their education on tradition.
The wedding is arranged by Geba. The most unique feature is two
Gebas bicker each other on the wedding. They boast how
extraordinary they are, and to show up the other side's fault.
They try their best to praise the bridegroom's abilities in robing,
killing, stealing. etc .They believe they are strong in this way.
Before the child comes out, the woman has to stay in the cattle
stall till the child is born out .If a son, the family will kill a
goat to celebrate; if a daughter, the woman will be vituperated.
They have sorts of buries such as water burial, celestial burial,
cremation, tree burial and so on. They usually patter for the
decedent in the coming 49 days. When a child aged under 13 dies,
his/her body is buried in a wooden box hung in a tree.
Gaiyu had 89 Gorba groups in 1974. They were distributed in 22
economic accounting units. Each production team boasted four Gorba
groups. Larger ones included eight or nine ones. A total of 841
households (with 3,370 people) or 75.08 percent of the total
joined Gorba groups. In Shama, however, Gorba member households
made up 98.8 percent of the total.