The Yao originally come from Southern China. From the late 1800s to the early 19th century, the Yao migrated into Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The Yao are the only hill tribe to have a written language. In Thailand Yao settlements can be found in the Northern provinces where the climate is cooler because of the mountainous terrain and forest areas. The silversmiths of the Yao hill tribe are renowned for their impressive skill. The intricate silver designs began as unique facets to the clothing of each member of the Yao family. Recently, many Yao silversmiths have begun to design more mainstream jewelry which appeal to a larger mass. This allows them to support the tribe while maintaining the legacy and rich cultural heritage from the past.
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