photos

China:Yunnan Province

Lugu Lake pagoda

Lugu Lake pagoda

Lugu Lake is home to the Mosuo ethnic minority of northwestern Yunnan province. It is a popular tourist destination for Chinese and foreign tourists.

Mosuo home

Mosuo home

The fireplace is the gathering place in Mosuo homes.

Mosuo dance

Mosuo dance

Mosuo women perform dances for tourists. Most young women today only wear traditional dress for tourist performances or special holidays.

Lige villagers

Lige villagers

Residents of Lige sit by the lake. in 2004 locals and the government battled over local land use, guesthouse development and stakes in the growing tourist industry.

Mosuo home courtyard

Mosuo home courtyard

Mosuo society is matrilineal. Women traditionally live with their children, mothers and brothers in the maternal home, and arrange romantic visits with their lovers. Many couples today choose to marry, live and raise their children together in husband and wife households.

Laundry day

Laundry day

Mosuo women wash clothes in Lige village.

Yi woman

Yi woman

Many Yi women in the Lugu Lake region continue to wear traditional ethnic clothing in daily life.

Market day

Market day

an Yi woman carries a baby on her back on market day near Lige village.

Market

Market

Yi women visit at a market above Lige village. The sacred 'Mother Mountain' can be seen behind them.

Lugu Lake home

Lugu Lake home

In 2004 this Mosuo woman was battling government-mandated demolition of the guest rooms she added to her home. She said the local government initially encouraged her to invest in tourism, and that she would lose all her life savings-plus loans- in the demolition.

Lugu Lake view

Lugu Lake view

Lugu Lake is home to the Mosuo and Yi minorities, on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

Lugu Lake sunrise

Lugu Lake sunrise

Mosuo people say Lugu Lake is filled with the tears of the Mother Mountain that rises behind it.

Mosuo elder

Mosuo elder

A Mosuo woman with her prayer beads

Wachan Village

Wachan Village

Wachan is a remote village in the mountains outside Dali city.

Wachan village bride

Wachan village bride

22 year-old A Wei has her hair done in preparation for her wedding day.

Bride's family.

Bride's family.

Guests.

Guests.

Villagers gather for wedding celebrations.

Wedding gifts

Wedding gifts

Dowry gifts are displayed in front of the bride's family home before the wedding procession.

Capturing the bride

Capturing the bride

According to strict tradition, the groom carries his bride on his back through the village from her parents' home to his family's home, where they will live. He first had to capture her from her bridal chambers by 'tricking' the bride's friends and family with bribes of candy and money to open the locked doors. The bride's sister protects her from the sun with a parasol.

Bridal procession

Bridal procession

wedding guests carry all dowry gifts- including a couch, television, dresser and bedding- on bamboo poles up the mountain to the groom's family home.

Wedding feast preparations

Wedding feast preparations

dishes include fried peanuts, pork with carrots, steamed buns, bitter squash and sticky rice.

Wedding Feast

Wedding Feast

Dishes are presented on trays with characters for 'double happiness'.

Dali fisherman mends his nets.

Dali fisherman mends his nets.

Kunming market

Kunming market

Children of market vendors play together while their mothers conduct business. Vendors often work 12 to 13 hour days.