Archive for China

Walking Marriages 走婚 in the Land of Mosuo; a Woman’s Kingdom

Posted in Asia, China, History with tags , , on June 30, 2009 by mariayzk

katuduma-aya-78-years-old

There are so many knowledgeable people, but none can equal with my mother.

There are so many people skilled in song and dance, but none can compete with my mother.

There are so many skillful people, but none can compare with my mother.


This beautiful folk song is intrinsic to the Nari culture; an ethnic group based in southwestern China more formally known as the Mosuo, which is quite often referred to as a ‘Girl’s Kingdom’.

American writer, Joseph Rock has described the land as:

“The last peaceful place on the planet, the last place where war has never existed, where people live in harmony, is Lugu Lake. The lake is home to the Mosuo minority, one of China’s 56 ethnic groups, hidden in the shadows of the Xiaoliang Mountains.”

mosuodance1

In the Mosou tradition; a man and a woman never leave their mother’s home. When a woman reaches puberty, she is given a coming-of-age ceremony at which time she can begin engaging in ‘Axia’; a walking marriage. It starts of with both men and women interacting with each other through group songs and other activities and if there happens to be a love connection between a pair, the woman invites the man through some form of gesture, i.e. gift. The man returns to this woman after dusk, when night falls and leaves before dawn to return to his mother’s home. If the woman desires, he returns; otherwise they end the relationship and move onto someone new. A relationship goes public to the families once a man and a woman decide to have children, until then the lovers will pretend not to know each other in public. Continue reading