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The Tian (pronounced TEE-yawn)[1] people come from the distant land of Tian Xia, almost inaccessible to the nations of the Inner Sea. The few Tian who migrate from their homeland to the shores of Avistan and Garund are generally classed as a single ethnicity. The Tian people, however, come from an entire continent, and as such are not one united ethnicity, but several different ones. All Tian in the Inner Sea region are united by one factor—they are thousands upon thousands of miles from their homeland.[2]


While composed of many different ethnicities which foreigners find difficult to differentiate between, the people of Tian Xia do have some features in common. First, they are generally smaller in stature than the average Avistani or Garundi human, with men rarely standing above five and a half feet tall, and women rarely rising much taller than five foot. Their builds are generally smaller as well, especially members of the Tian-Dan and Tian-Sing ethnicities, who are often viewed as emaciated. Tian people generally have black or very dark brown hair, regardless of ethnicity. Occasionally Tian are born with pure white hair, which is viewed as a sign of greatness. The eye color of the most populous Tian ethnicity, the Tian-Shu, is brown, and so it is the most common eye color amongst the Tian in general. Eye color varies between the different ethnicities of Tian Xia, and the Tian-Min of Minkai boast the widest range of eye colors within the ethnicity.[2]


The history of the Tian culture is the history of an entire continent on the opposite side of the world from the Inner Sea, and as such, not much is known outside their own lands. It is known that the civilization of the most numerous people of Tian Xia, the Tian-Shu, has existed since before the fall of the Starstone, and is reckoned to be seven thousand years old in its current form. Tian Xia has seen the rise and fall of three great empires in recorded history, the most recent empire having collapsed a mere hundred years ago, leading to a revitalization of the various cultures of Tian Xia.[2]


Tian culture is likewise a mystery to most non-Tian. It is known that they value genealogy, and most noble Tian are able to trace their ancestors back at least a few dozen generations. One Tian-Shu king even claims to be able to trace his lineage back eleven thousand years. The Tian gained their knowledge of genealogy from the dragons, who are known to obsess over their lineage. Tea culture is another unique facet of Tian life, as the Tian take their tea very seriously. Tea is prevalent in all walks of life and all levels of society in Tian Xia, and it is more popular than alcohol in much of the continent. It rose to prevalence around four thousand years ago, when it was first drunk in the royal courts.[2]