Emperor Txiyau the decedent of the Jiuli people

Yaj Ceeb (Yang Chang)

In Hmong belief, the bright world of the men and women and of materialobjects and nature. It corresponds to the Chinese world of yang. Its opposite is the dark world of yeeb ceeb.

Yeeb Ceeb (Yin Cheng)
The dark world of the spirits in Hmong belief. It corresponds to theChinese world of yin. The Otherworld, comprising of yeeb ceeb and yajceeb (the world of men), is closely modeled on the Chinese Otherworld.The Hmong believe that long ago men and spirits could meet and talk toeach other and that passing between the two worlds was much easier.After the worlds became divided only a txiv neeb, a shaman, can safelyventure into the Otherworld.

Folk DietiesEdit

Nplooj LwgEdit

(Blong Lue)
According to the Hmong Song of Creation, the frog who created heavenand earth. It was a place inhabited by humans and spirits where theylived together peacefully. Men, however, claimed that the frog had liedabout the size of the world, which was supposed to be no larger thanthe palm of a hand or the sole of a foot, and killed the frog.

Its dying curse was that humans and spirits would no longer livetogether but that they would be separated into two worlds. Furthermore,the world of mankind would know sickness and death, alternate heat andrain, and that the leaves would fall off the trees. Before, humans hadbeen able to rise up on the thirteenth day after death, but henceforththey lost that ability.


The Otherworld in Hmong belief is harsh, mountainous landscape. It can be entered through holes or underground caves. Where the natural world and the Otherworld meet there is a large body of water, crossed by a bridge, and it is here that the souls of men can meet with the spirits and communicate, although none can tell which is men and which is spirit.

There might also be a marketplace on or near the bridge where men and spirits can trade and bargain.There are twelve great mountains, each one higher than the preceding one, and they lead into the heavens, to the great mountain where Ntxwj Nyug resides. After death, each soul must traverse these mountains in order to be judged by Ntxwj Nyug. The passage is not without dangers: one of the mountains is made out of poisonous hairy caterpillars and can only be crossed by those who wear hemp slippers (which are placed on the feet of the dead). When the soul comes before Ntxwj Nyug it is judged; if it is found worthy it may pass through the great gates and continue its journey to the village of its ancestors, where it may dwell for a while before it is reincarnated.

Ntxwj NyugEdit

(N'txue N'yae)
One of the two lords of the Otherworld in Hmong belief. He judges the souls of the dead and determines in which form the soul will be reincarnated -- vegetable, animal, or human. He guards the gates through which the souls must pass before they can return to the village of their ancestors. These gates are near his residence, at the top of a mighty mountain.
Ntxwj Nyug is said to be fond of feasting and for this purpose keeps a great herd of heavenly cattle (the souls of those who have been judgedworthy of punishment).

The other lord is Nyuj Vaj Tuam Teem and together they control life and death. If a person's license for life has expired, a txiv neeb (shaman)may call upon Ntxwj Nyug to grant an extension of its term and if Ntxwj Nyug agrees, then that person's life is prolonged.

Nyuj Vaj Tuam TeemEdit

(N'yae Va Tua Teng)
One of the two lords of the Otherworld in Hmong belief. Seated on a magnificent and terrifying throne behind a great writing desk, Nyuj Vaj Tuam Teem issues licenses for rebirth. He and Ntxwj Nyug control life and death.

Sis YisEdit

(Si Yee)
The first Healer in Hmong tradition. In the beginning, the Lord of Death, Ntxwj Nyug, killed humans faster than they could reproduce. When the beneficent Saub saw that there were only a few humans left , he gave some of his medical instruments to a mortal man named Sis Yis. Endowed with the power to cure illnesses and diseases, Sis Yis brought mankind back from the brink of extinction.

Just before he died, he promised to return to earth on the thirtieth day of the twelfth month (New Year) to further help mankind. He kept his promise and on New Year he descended from the celestial ladder that joins the two worlds. When he was half-way, he noticed that mankind was still fast asleep and that nobody was there to welcome him. In a fit of anger, he threw down his instruments and returned to his heavenly abode.

The instruments were found by various people and they soon discovered that they could be used to cure the sick. These people became the first Healer and the instruments are still used by today's shamans. A shaman in trance refers to himself as Sis Yis, but refers to the real Sis Yis as "Nyiaj Yig." (Nhia Yee)

Tswb TchojEdit

(Chue Chae)
A legendary Hmong figure. He became the emperor (Huab Tais) of China but he lost his throne through trickery by the Chinese. Before he died, Tswb Tchoj he promised to return to earth one day to help his people.

Kaj YuamEdit

(Ga Yua)
The Heavenly Archer, a semi-legendary, heroic character in Hmong tradition. He is said to have created the first crossbow out of iron and copper and used it to shoot at the nine suns that turned around the world. He shot down eight of them and when they fell out of the sky, they caused drought and death. The remaining sun became frightened and hid herself, returning only when she heard the crowing of a rooster, which for ever afterwards bore a red plume where the sun's first rays struck it.

Niam Nkauj Kab YeebEdit

(Nia Gao Kaiyang)
Hmong popular beliefs pertaining to Kaying reveal that Kaying is in fact the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Guanyin. She was imported from Mahayana Buddhism by the Hmong people of China who had retained her roles of the “Bestower of Children",the “Guardian Angel” or the "Conductor of the Dead Children". An analysis of the process of borrowing of the Chinese deity into the Hmong pantheon shows that Lady Kaying overlaps with anancient spirit, the “Ancestor Spirit of Fertility” or Niam Poj Dab Pog. This case study demonstrates that the process of borrowing are selective, integrative and comprehensive: some traits or fragments were taken from Buddhism and incorporated into the Hmong beliefs through a super imposing of a Hmong pre-existing system of beliefs.


The Hmong term for spirits and supernatural forces. They are divided into several groups but the two most important ones are the dab nyeg and the dab qus (forest spirits). Other groups of dab are associated with blacksmithing, hunting, and herbalism.