Mosuo kingdom: an unique matriarchal society

As some of you know, I live since last year in Southeast China, and everytime I am more surprised about this countries cultural mixture and amazing diversity. A country of around 1,339,724,852 people, according to the latest nationwide census, the worlds most populous country. China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.51% of the total population. But this time, I will try not to bore you with statistics and historical figures and mainly focus on the culture of this interesting ethnic minority.

The Mosuo tribe, a minority considered part of the Naxi as they share the same language, live at almost 3,000 metres above the sea level, northwest of Yunnan Provincesurrounded by the “mother lake” Lugu and high on the Himalaya mountain.

The interesting part is, that this ethnic group is best known as “Home of the Matriarchal Tribe“,  Women are in charge of the household, heavy jobs such as plowing the soil and taking care of children as single mothers. On the contrary, Men are in charge of artifacts, trade and religious rituals, a more laid-back life! And when it comes to the sexual activity, this occurs only through the custom of the secret nocturnal “visit”; men and women are free to have multiple partners and to initiate or break off relationships when they please. Isn’t that amazing!

Unfortunately, with modern times this tribe is going through some challenges that makes for them harder to continue their traditions and culture customs.  More and more new constructions, strip hotels, souvenir shops and bars are opening to please the tourism industry. Another inconvenience is that its history is mainly oral passed down from generation to generation, so they do not have any written proofs. This makes inevitable to read different anthropologist interpretation where this particular tribe was born.

This leads to my next point, there is a fantastic protection project going on by Lugu Lake Mosuo Cultural Development Association, this organisation wants to keep alive Mosuo culture and lifestyle.

The most fascinating is to know that it’s a world ruled by women, but in fact its more interesting when you consider its location; China a country where the social and political conditions of women are merely underestimated. The gender war is a big issue to discuss, and I would like to talk more about it on my next post, which will be focused on the absence of women artists.

Until we meet again …same place, same site.

For further information you can visit: http://www.mosuoproject.org

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