Lanten minority group, near Muang Sing, Laos

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It’s very difficult to find information about this minority group. The lowland-living Lanten in Laos speak Kim Mun and are a group of the Yao nationality. They usually live near a river as they need the flowing water for the paper they produce and other activities.

Their religion is based on medieval Chinese (Taoism), although many have converted to Buddhism and some to Christianity. They still follow most of their traditions. The Lanten are probably the only hilltribe minority group using a written system — it is based on old Chinese characters, and while the men can still read these characters, the writing knowledge is being lost.

I visited this Lanten village near Muang Sing in January and they were drying paper made from bamboo. They also produce and die their own fabric for their clothes. Most Lanten women still wear their traditional home-made clothes, died in Indigo blue. They all wear the same legwarmers and other accessories. The women also shave their eyebrow, which gives them this special look.

Lanten village on the way to Muang Sing, Laos, Jan 2011


Julien serving, Beausoleil, France
Portrait of a Maiko, Kyoto, Japan