Thursday, August 11, 2005
"For nearly 2,000 years, the Mosuo (pronounced MWO-swo) have lived in the Yunnan and Sechuan provinces of southwest China, practicing matriarchal traditions. One of China's 56 designated ethnic minorities, the Mosuo population of 56,000 people is tiny compared with China's overall population of 1.3 billion.
The majority of Mosuo families live around Lugu Lake, a region that was isolated from the rest of world until the 1970s. At 8,580 feet (2,600 m) above sea level, it is the highest-altitude lake in the Yunnan province. It is also the second-deepest body of water in China . . . .
Mosuo women carry on the family name and run the households, which are usually made up of several families with one woman elected as the head. The head matriarchs of each village govern the region by committee.
The Mosuo are best known for their tradition of zouhun, or walking marriage, in which youths who have gone through a coming of age ceremony at the age of 13 are permitted to choose their own axia, or relationship. This nontraditional [thousands of years and it's "nontraditional"!?] union means that men visit their lovers only by "walking" to them at night and leaving in the morning. If a child is born from the union, it is taken care of by the mother's brothers.
The traditional Mosuo religion worships nature, with Lugu Lake regarded as the Mother Goddess and the mountain overlooking it venerated as the Goddess of Love. The Mosuo also practice Lamaism, a Tibetan variation of Buddhism. Most Mosuo homes dedicate a room specifically for Buddhist worship and for sheltering traveling lamas, or monks.
The Mosuo language is rendered not in writing, but in Dongba, the only pictographic language used in the world today.
The Mosuo language has no words for murder, war or rape.
The Mosuo have no jails."