Lugu Lake and Mosuo People
The Lugu Lake is located between Ninglang County
in Yunnan Province and Yanyuan County in Sichuan Province, 303
kilometers away from Lijiang County. It is a plateau lake with
a total area of 52 square kilometers, 2,685 meters above sea level.
The average depth is 45 meters, the deepest point being 93 meters.
The water is very clear. The lake remains an uncontaminated plateau
Among the five islands in the lake, three are
in the territory of Yunnan and two in that of Sichuan. Heiwawudao,
Liwubidao, Ligedao are metaphorically called "Three Islands
of Penglai" (Islands of the Immortals ). Sitting in the middle
of the lake, Heiwawudao Island is also called " the Chieftain
Island" because Ashaoyun, the chieftain of Yongning, built
his villa on the island in the Guangxu Period of the Qing dynasty.
Rock, an American scientist, also used to reside on this island.
On the south side of the lake stands Liwubidao Island on which
there is a temple and the chieftain Ashaoyun's tomb. Ligedao Island
lies at the foot of the lion Mountain. It is actually a small
peninsular formed by the extension of the Lion Mountain into the
Lake. A dozen of Mosuo families live on this island so it is possible
for the visitors to experience the life on the island and, at
the same time, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake.
The pretty and graceful Mosuo girls, the ancient
and natural canoes and the moving and pleasant fishing songs and
are consider to be the " three most enjoyable things on the
The Ligu Lake is embraced by green mountains.
The best-loved one by the Mosuo people is the Holy Gemu Mountain.
The local people worship it as their Goddess Gemu. On 25th July
of each lunar year, they will gather at the foot of the mountain
for a great sacrificial rite.
Many cultural sites and scenic spots are scattered
along the lakeside. They are Mosuo villages, plateau hot springs,
the underground maze-The Lucky Cave, the Chieftain's Palace, the
Zhamei Lamaist Temple, Riyuehe- The Ruins of the Yuan Army Quarters
when Kublai Khan was on his south-expansion, Yongning-the key
town on the ancient tea and horse trading route. Many beautiful
legends have been circulating among the people. The Mosuos, a
branch of the Naxi nationality with a population of about 15,000,
are the main ethnic group scattered in the lakeside villages.
The Mosuo women wear long hair tied into a bun
and red, green and black garments and white folding skirts with
colorful sashes tied round their waists. Before 13 years old,
they usually wear long gowns. After the initiation ceremony at
the age 13, men wear trousers and women wear skirts.
The Mosuo people have their own ways and customs,
still retain some remnants of the matriarchal society. Men and
women are not bound by marriage, each living at one's mother's
home. Men work at home during the day and spend their night with
the women they love in their homes. Children are under the care
of and supported by their maternal families. Fathers do not live
in the same family with their children and women so that they
are not bound up with their women financially in their production
and life. This unique wedlock values affection and gives more
freedom to men and women in their relationships. They may choose
to unite or separate at will. It has been considered as the living
fossil as a basis for a study of social patterns and matriarchal
marriage customs in today's world.
The Mosuo wooden houses are built with square-edged
timber in the style of " Jinganshi building ", also
called Mulengfang. The Naxi Villages look graceful and unaffected.
The Zhuanshan Festival ( the Festival of Turning-around the Mountain)
which falls on 25th July of the lunar year is the traditional
festival of the Mosuo people. On that day they would dress in
their Sunday vest to worship the Gemu Goddess Mountain and pray
for the Goddess' protection. It is also a time for horse racing,
wrestling and antiphonal singing. The young people take the chance
to search for their lovers, whom they call Axia.