Who are the Mosuo People?

All you need to know about the 'Kingdom of Women'.

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Who are the Mosuo?

The Mosuo population of an estimated 56,000 people is one of China's 56 designated ethnic minorities.

How do I pronounce Mosuo?

This can be a tricky one to pronounce correctly! There are different pronunciations for the Mosuo, however the most conventional and accurately found way to refer to this community correctly is Mwo-swo. It's important to remember that they are also known as the Kingdom of Women due to their Matriarchal makeup.

What is a Matriarchy?

According to StyleCraze, a matriarchy is a societal composition where a female member leads a family, with females being head of the family being designated the so called matriarch.

Where do the Mosuo live?

Ever wondered where the Mosuo actually live? The Mosuo have actually lived in southwest China's Yunnan and Sechuan provinces for nearly 2,000 years, following matriarchal traditions. The majority of Mosuo people live in the area surrounding Lugu Lake, which was reportedly isolated from the rest of the world until the 1970s. It is the highest-altitude lake in Yunnan province, standing at 2,600 metres above sea level! It is also China's second-deepest body of water, reaching depths of more than 90 metres.

How does their society function?

Mosuo women carry on the family name and control everything household related. A typical Mosuo house is composed of four distinct structures arranged around an open courtyard. Families have traditionally shared the structure with livestock, and the living and sleeping areas are communal. The household itself is typically made up of several families, with one woman being elected as the head or leader. The region is governed by a committee of the head matriarchs of each village. It's important to note that the Mosuo is mainly an agrarian culture, with much of Mosuo daily life revolving around crop and livestock care, with villages and households bartering for basic necessities. But that doesnt mean the Mosuo don't have fun!

What is significant about this community?

The Mosuo population in comparison to China's overall population of 1.3 billion, alongside their location geographically pleaces this vulnerable community on the fringes of mainstream chinese culture and politics. This doesnt however make their way of live any less important, significant or less relevant. In fact this very composition makes this community even more important

So, how is the Mosuo culture evolving?

Some of this traditional structure of this inspiring community is beginning to change as a result of tourism and globalization. Electricity is present within the Mosuo villages, bringing satellite dishes and television. With more technology being integrated into the community, traditions and customs are arguably threatened.

What are the Mosuo known for?

Arguably, the Mosuo are known for what they call "zouhun'', or walking marriage tradition, where youths who have completed their coming-of-age ceremony at the age of 13 are allowed to choose their own "axia", or relationship. Because of this unconventional union, men only visit their lovers by “walking” to them at night and leaving in the morning. If a child is born as a result of the union, it is cared for by the mother's brothers.

Why do we know so much about the Mosuo?

CEO Eduard Schaepman had the incredible opportunity to visit this inspiring community! He met with the Matriarchs, explored their culture and even got to witness the coming of age ceremony to adulthood! He took this experience and opened an entire location inspired by the Mosuo's way of life in Amsterdam! Want to learn more about his experience? Check out the Nomads All Over The World YouTube Channel for more!

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