The Mosuo Tribe – China’s Kingdom of Women

There’s a popular one-liner that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook for a while now – “If women ruled the world, there would be no wars. Just a bunch of jealous countries not talking to each other.” While that’s something we’ve all laughed at and forgotten, there actually does exists a Chinese matriarchal tribe where things are seemingly always at peace. Also known as the Kingdom of Daughters, the Mosuo Tribe have been in existence for the past two thousand years in the Lugu Lake region of Southern China.

In the Mosuo tribe, women rule. To such an extent that their language doesn’t even have a word for ‘father’. Property is handed down from mother to daughter, and sons are treated as simple inhabitants of the house. Even after they are married with children of their own, the men continue to live in their maternal homes, while children live in the home of the mother. In fact, there isn’t even a concept of formal marriage. Couples who fall in love meet in the home of the woman, and continue to refer to each other as ‘friends’. Vows and bonds have no place in a “walking marriage” system where mutual affection is valued.

Photo via Chinancient

The Mosuo are apparently doing something right, considering the fact that  issues such as prostitution or rape are unheard of. Even divorce is of no concern, because a woman is free to end a relationship at any time. Nothing really changes since the couple never lived together. No common finances, shared property, or child-custody battles implies that there are no worries whatsoever in case of a break-up. Unlike many other cultures in China, the birth of a girl-child is celebrated in this ethnic minority, and they truly do seem to be a happy lot.

Photo via Utopianist

You must be wondering at this point if the men of such a society are really happy with the way things are. Well they surely must be, because no amount of insistence from the Chinese Government could make the Mosuo change their ways. The men proudly claim, ”Mosuo men are only stealing the girls, not their stuff.”  Today, cultural curiosity actually draws several tourists to the land of the Mosuo each year. This is one tribe I will surely be visiting if I ever happen to travel to China.


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