Bamo Ayi is a Nuosu Yi from Liangshan. She received her Ph.D. in Tibetan-Burmese Linguistics with a distinction in the Yi Writing System and Religious Scriptures from Minzu University of China in 1991. She conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle (1996-1997) and spent a year as a Visiting Scholar of the Harvard-Yenching Institute (2000-2001). Since then, she has served as Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and Director of the International Exchange Office of Minzu University of China, as well as Deputy Director General of International Department at the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (2001-2013). She is now acts as the Executive Vice-President of the Central Institute of Ethnic Administrators and is also Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Minzu University of China.
Bamo Ayi has conducted fieldwork in the Yi and Naxi areas of southwest China, as well as in northwestern Japan and western America. She is the author of The Study of Yi Ancestral Worship: An Investigation on Nousu's Ritual and Interpretation of the Ritual Books (1994), The Life-world of Religion: Field Reports on the Religious Life of the Yi in Liangshan (2004), and a Chinese translation of Stevan Harrell's work titled “Field Studies of Ethnic Identity: Yi Communities of Southwest China” (2000, with Qumu Tiexi). She is the co-author (with Stevan Harrell and Ma Lunzy) of a book titled Fieldwork Connections: The Fabric of Ethnographic Collaboration in China and America (2007, University of Washington Press). Her many essays, field reports, and papers have appeared in a wide spectrum of journals in and outside China. In recent years, Bamo Ayi has devoted herself both to the publicity of ethnic minorities' ancient documents and to the study of Yi Bimo scriptures, acting as an editor-in-chief for Collections of Native Religious Documents of Ethnic Minorities in China (2009). She is a co-author of The Sacred Ritual for the Soul of Ancestors: Investigation into the Grand Nimu Cobi Ceremonies and Scriptures among Nuosu Yi People (2013).