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The Women's Kingdom - Mosuo - Essay Example

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This article seeks to address the controversial issues concerning the minority group, with verification of the facts from five interviewees from the community (appendix 1). A typical Mosuo family consists of ten family members, though the size varies and some may consist of between 20 and 30 members. Nonetheless, a female leads each family. In essence, the family head is the most proficient female in the house and all other members of the family respect her. She has important responsibilities and honorary status because all other members of the family depend on her decisions on family matters. Lugu Lake is the home for the Mosou community, which has about 35,000 to 50,000 members. The community enjoys plenty of space and building material for building, thus each family poses its own courtyard, with the number of rooms in each courtyard dependent on the size of the family. However, one room stands out: the grandmother’s quarters. The Mosuo family uses this room to offer sacrifices to ancestors, receptions, dining, and discuss family matters. However, the room has a dark atmosphere and low ceiling, creating a sense of intimacy with the only source of light coming from the flames in the coal-stove chambers. Here rests a stone representing the entire ancestry of the family (Vogt). Mosuo tradition holds that the stone carries the souls of the past generations, and thus the fire must remain lit throughout the year to keep the ancestor warm. In some families, the grandmother’s room may contain a big chink of meat that symbolizes the wealth of the family. The Mosou preserve the meat of slaughtered animals using salt and ash, then stitch up the skin and keep it dry in a shady and clean place. Such preserved meat usually lasts for over three years before the family can eat it. The Mosou believe that a steady supply of meat is a symbol of the appetite for money and food. Beside the grandmother’s room, most families have a two-storied structure for chanting and storing Buddhist scriptures. This building is the most cleanest and beautiful in the courtyard (PR China). Their economy is largely agrarian, mainly producing the basic needs for their lives. On average, the annual income of most Mosuo is around $150 to $200, a very low figure even by the standards in china. However, the community is not dying of poverty: they manage to acquire all the basic needs. However, other unimportant factors such as travelling and education are expensive. The marriage aspect of the Mosou is probably the most controversial and famous practice of the minority group. However, most people are only aware of the ‘walking marriage’ practice. The Mosou have three marriage patterns: the traditional Axia (visiting marriage), monogamy, and Axia cohabitation. Monogamy, however, only exists among the Mosuo members living in urban areas and other village with many ethnic groups. The larger Lugu Lake population still practices the “visiting marriage.” Traditionally, the community is marriage-free. Mosou men refer to their women as Axia, or intimate companion, while women refer to their lovers as Azhu. None of the partners is bound by marriage and they both live in their mother’ ...Show more


The Controversial Mosuo Culture In the contemporary world, the Peoples Republic of China is among the first lane burgeoning economic powerhouses and a communist government with a questionable record on human rights. In the southwestern parts of China, however, a female dominated Chinese culture, the Mosuo, maintain their traditional matrilineal system and their controversial ‘visiting marriage’ practice…
Author : effertzelissa
The Womens Kingdom - Mosuo
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