Liu Xuehan.- Discovering the Mysterious Oriental Kingdom of the Female


Liu Xuehan.- Discovering the Mysterious Oriental Kingdom of the Female. Yunnan Nationalities Press. 2006

This is a short book about the Mosou people written by an author who have been in contact with them for more than 20 years. With a simple and clear style he depicts what he has seen of the Moso society. The first chapter introduces the Moso family, and the functions and importance of its different members, specially mothers and uncles. A family structure basic to understand Moso way of life.

The second is about the walking Marriage of the Moso. He explains the differences between the called Azhu marriage and the Axia marriage. He emphasizes the formal aspects of both kind of marriages, and the ceremony named Zhangbala, "which means worship the Kitchen god and the ancestors", and that will account as a formal wedding rite. He also differentiates these serious couple relations, based in love, with the nightly adventures of the youngsters.

In the third chapter, under the epigraph "Customs", he made a detailed depiction of a Moso funeral. A complex ceremony hat, with small variants, is celebrated by Moso people living in different places.

In the fourth he translate to English an etiological myth that, explaining the origin of the Moso canoes and homes, depicts a Gemu Goddess (their main goddess according to most of the Moso Mythologies) as a deity subordinate to many powerful gods, among them the goddess Bodhisatva Jizhundume. Goddess Gemu is portrayed as a crazy teenager thinking only in her Azhu relations with the mountain gods.

The book ends with the very short memories of Cierzhima, the wife of the last Moso head. This is a first hand testimony of the history of some years still not well known by Chinese and Western readers. Her depiction of some of the task of her husband can help us to understand the multifarious role of Moso headmen.

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