In the sublime Xiaoliangshan Mountains of Yongning District of the Ninglang Yi Autonomous County is inlaid a shimmering pearl - Lugu Lake. It is the native place of "The Females' Kingdom" composed of the Mosuo people, a branch of the Naxi nationality. "Lugu" means "falling into the water" in the Mosuo language ("hu" means lake in Chinese.) Hence the name of the lake. See: Map of Lugu Lake
Lugu Lake is located between Yunnan's Ninglang County and Sichuan's Yanyuan County, with a total area of 77,700-odd mu, the space within the precincts of Yunnan being 41,400 mu. It is 2,685 m. above sea level, counting from the surface of the water, and is therefore the lake with the highest titleitude in the province. Its average depth of water is 40 m., the greatest depth being 90 m. Among Yunnan's lakes it stands only second to Fuxianhu Lake (See: Map of Fuxian Lake) in terms of depth of water. The water of the lake is generally clean and green, with different shades of colour: now turquoise blue, now sapphire blue, now white-gray, simply beyond one's imagination. On the lake are the "pig-trough boats" ("zhucaochuan") specific to the place. Teeming in the lake are fine-scaled fish, carps and other species. The lake waters flow eastwards to the Yalong River and finally into the surging Jingshajiang River.
Lugu Lake is surrounded by high and sublime mountains and is snowbound for over 3 months. Since the lake is rather deep, a definite regulating influence is exerted on the temperature of the lake shores. Therefore the surrounding mountains abound in forest resources which afford an exquisite beauty, much fresh air and charming scenery. At present it is one of the places in China which is least damaged by human efforts and best preserved in its natural features.
The shores of the Lugu lake is inhabited by the Mosuo people who have peculiar customs and ways, up to now still retaining remnants of matriarchal society. Men and women are not united by wedlock, each living at the mother's home respectively, yet keeping a casual cohabitation relationship. Thus the place is called "A Quaint Realm of Matriarchy".
Mosuo People are marriage-free. When the Mosuo girls reached 15 years of age, the boys reached 17, they are allowed to start their love affairs. The lovers (Called "Female Azhu" and "male Azhu") found each other freely. Mosuo people are good in singing and dancing. The young people dancing together and singing in Musou language to express their love.
The Musou girl has a special "Azhu" house to meet her lover. Her lover visits her during night and leave at morning. If the girl wishes to stop the love affair, she closed the door of her "Azhu House" to the man. Then the man will not come again. The love affair is finished. The lovers have no economic or any legal relationship. It is based on mutual love affection only. The willingness of the females are highly respected.
The children will be growing up with their mother and uncles. They inherit their surnames from their mother. They even don't know who is their father. Woman is the head of the family. Women are in charge of most works in the society. These "single mothers" are happy. The uncles play the male part in the family and looking after the boys. Such blood connection may be more stable than the love-based marriage & duty. What an unique but wise arrangement. The Luguhu Lake area is indeed one of the rare specimens of "The Female's Kingdom" in the world and a 'living fossil of the matriarchal society hard to come by".