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The Custom of Visiting Marriage of Mosuo People



In the Lugu Lake region, Yunnan Province, the custom of visiting marriage has been practiced for centuries among the Mosuo People. The man and the woman involved in such a marriage practice spend their whole life with their respective maternal families except for sleeping together at night. This kind of marriage involves no economic relationship. The mother's side of the family is responsible for bringing up any children that are produced through this union. Mosuo people's marriage is free. Their "marriage" can come to an end if either of the partners no longer wants to live with the other. Interestingly enough, in some villages along the Xianshui River whose residents are predominantly Tibetans, the marriage system of a matrilineal nature is also in existence.

The Visiting Marriage among Tibetans along the Xianshui River

Lugu Lake and Xianshui River are both located on the lower reaches of the Yalong River. Some travelers have come with sexual fantasies, wishing to experience the indigenous visiting marriage custom. But the local people refuse to let outsiders in.

Ren Xinjian, an expert on Tibetan studies, said that the historical Dongnv Country was built along the Yalong River and walking weddings are the remnants of the matrilineal culture prevalent then. Now, visiting marriage is still the main marriage system practiced in the areas of Xianshui River and Lugu River.

When posing for photos, a Tibetan family felt uneasy because the two brothers in the family shared one wife. And they had heard from the travelers that such a marriage practice is strange in the eyes of the outsiders. So in the photograph, the two brothers stood at a distance.

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