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The Custom of Visiting Marriage of Mosuo People



When researchers first paid a visit to this family, they were surprised at the fact that the two brothers have married one woman. However, as they studied the culture further, they had come to realize that this kind of marriage was suitable in the mountainous area where the land is scarce and the population is growing.

The elder brother in the family said, "In my family, the brothers have all married one wife for generations. We divide the work in our family clearly. The younger brother herds the sheep and cattle while I works on the farm. Our wife would do all the household work and prepare meals for us.". The family is stable and lives happily and becomes rich in this way. They had two babies, but they never thought of who was the biological father of their children. For them divorce is unthinkable. If one brother fell in love with another woman, he would be laughed at by the villagers because that meant he wanted to escape from his family responsibility.

Another Tibetan family studied had four husbands and eight children. When asked whom she loved most among the four men she married, the woman answered skillfully, "I love them all. It's impossible to love one but not all others." As to which one she considered was the best, she replied like a diplomat, "They are all wonderful."

The system of wife-sharing among brothers is respected as a cultural heritage from the remote past and be allowed to remain intact. As a matter of fact, the local government has no plan to interfere with the custom. The local people admit that the advantage of this marriage practice is that family members share all the work and only with a big family can one improve his or her lot in a harsh environment he or she lives.

Editor: Wen Yi

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