Burma image, WA0638. Two Shan Tayok women. (house background).
Photograph of James Henry Green taken in the 1920s.
'The north eastern Shans are what are generally known as Shan Tayoks or Chinese Shans. They occupy the part of Yunnan which bulges westwards towards the Irrawaddy. The bulk of them are now Chinese subjects, but there are many of them in Namhkam and Selan and all along our Northern Shan States frontier. The whole country formerly often changed hands between the Chinese and Burmese. Nevertheless there is very little that is Chinese about the Shan-Chinamen, and their written character has no sort of resemblance either in form or complexity to that of china. The dress of the Shan-Chinamen is certainly distinctive, but it is so rather in colour than in fashion or type. The British Shan dresses almost invariably in white; the Chinese Shan in indigo blue. The women's dress is even more distinctive.
[The] chief difference is the turban. The Shan-Chinese women oftenest ear dark-blue turbans, and these are very large. In Nantien, Mong Wan, Kan-ngai, and the neighbouring states it broadens to the top and stands a foot high. East of the Salween it broadens to the sides and has the ends standing up like horns. East of the Mekong it becomes merely round again and is not so bulky . Very broad silver bracelets in various patterns are also characteristic. The Shan Chinese chiefs all speak Chinese, but the mass of the population remains distinctively Tai. There has been no such assimilation as exists west of the Irrawaddy or in the Shan States of the south nearest to Burma' ['Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States', part I vol. I, Sir. J. G. Scott, Rangoon, 1900, pp.204-205]