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Lugu Lake Considered for World Heritage Listing

China's renowned Lugu Lake is to be considered for world heritage status for its cultural and natural aspects by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Lugu Lake is located in the Yi Autonomous County of Ninglang between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in southwest China. It is famous around the world for its beautiful scenery and the maintenance of the unique matriarchal system observed by the indigenous Mosuo people.

Mosuo means "yak herders" in Chinese and the people are a branch of the Naxi ethnic minority. They preserve the "marriage-by-visit" tradition, where married couples live in separate homes with the husband only visiting his wife in her family home at night. The system is closely related to their unique matriarchal family system.

Under the Mosuo courting system, when a man and a woman meet each other and fall in love, the man will ask a matchmaker to send tea, candy and garments to his sweetheart's home. In return, the young woman's mother will give the man linen trousers that her daughter has made herself, and send the man's gift of candies to her neighbors. After that, the man and the woman will begin their "marriage-by-visit" life.

If one of the couple finds that something between them has changed and suggests stopping their contact, they will stop their "marriage-by-visit" life and resume their search for new partners. Chinese experts described the phenomenon as a well-preserved anachronism in international marital history.

Relevant departments in Ninglang County are making necessary preparations for the application for world heritage status to UNESCO.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2002)

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