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Travel Yunnan China : Minorities : The Mosuo People

Kunming Dali
Lijiang Deqen
Jinghong Dehong
Baoshan Honghe


The Mosuo People

The Mosuos, a branch of the Naxi nationality with a population of about 15000, are the main ethnic group scattered in the lakeside villages. The Mosuo women wear long hair tied into a bun and red, green and black garments and white folding skirts with colorful sashes tied round their waists. Before 13 years old, they usually wear long gowns. After the initiation ceremony at the age of 13, men wear trousers and women wear skirts.

The Mosuo people have their own ways and customs, still retain some remnants of the matriarchal society. Men and women are not bound by marriage, each living at one's mother's home. Men work at home during the day and spend their night with the women they love in their homes. Children are under the care of and supported by their maternal families. Fathers do not live in the same family with their children and women so that they are not bound up with their women financially in their production and life. This unique wedlock values affection and gives more freedom to men and women in their relationships. They may choose to unite or separate at will. It has been considered as the living fossil as a basis for a study of social patterns and matriarchal marriage customs in today' s world.

The Mosuo wooden houses are built with square - dogged timber in the style of "jingangshi building", also called Mulengfang (Timber House). The Naxi Villages look graceful and unaffected. The Zhuanshan Festival (the Festival of Turning - around the Mountain) which falls on 25th July of the lunar year is the traditional festival of the Mosuo people. On that day they would dres in their Sunday best to worship the Gemu Goddess Mountain (the Lion Mountain) and pray for the Goddess' protection. It is also a time for horse racing, wrestling and antiphonal sining. The young people take the chance to search for their lovers, whom they call Axia.