Documenting Mosuo Culture: A Modern Mosuo Love Story

A Modern Mosuo Love Story

On the last full day of filming, we interviewed with a couple we have become very close with this month. They are ethnically Mosuo from villages outside of Lige who got married just last November. They bashfully sat down for the interview. The wife was shy and awkward in front of the camera. She kept a little distance from her husband and kept looking away to the side. The husband who is more extroverted put his arm around her shoulders and jokingly said, “Hey, we’re married aren’t we?” He pulled her closer to him. We laughed as he lovingly bullied his wife. When we thought the two were comfortable enough, we began the interview. We started with their love story:

The wife, Namu, came from LJZ, the village we had visited weeks previous. It’s far away and very remote. For the village, it is common for young women to come to Lugu Lake in their teenage years to do parttime work. Namu came to Lige village in her teens (around 16 or 17?) and worked in a BBQ shop next to CR, her now husband. She would help clean his shop everyday. Through these daily interactions, they gradually fell in love. During that year, Namu moved to Lijiang for a better paying job. Ci’er bought her a cellphone so to often check on her. However, it turned out that Namu got sick that entire month, as well as broke her phone.

Namu all of a sudden stopped telling the story and looked away. A tear trickled down her cheek. CR continued the story:

While suddenly being out of contact, Ci’er became worried. Without any way of telling her, he took the long ride down to Lijiang to find Namu sad and homesick. She was so happy to see him. He drove her back to Lugu Lake. From then on, they have been together in Lugu Lake.

Namu cried because she was so touched by CR’s concern and love for her. They decided to get married. This wasn’t because they didn’t want to have a “walking marriage” relationship, but because they wanted to stay together. Their villages are so distant from each other that it would be impossible to visit at night. Marriage was the best option.

Namu’s family was very traditional and at first did not want her to get married. This would mean she would not come back and lead the household as the matriarch. When CR visited, he was not warmly welcomed. However, he worked hard to build a good relationship with her family. Even though it would be difficult, he wanted nothing else but to marry Namu.

Namu was so touched by the story again that she began tearing up. CR’s eyes were also brimming with tears. Namu got up and walked outside to compose herself. Her husband continued the story:

“After many visits, they finally agreed and let us marry. They even like me now. We got married last year in my village. Now we have a baby on the way!”

Namu soon came back and sat down. CR looked at her round stomach and smiled. We asked if they have anything they want to say to the baby:

“What would we say?” Namu replied.

“What do you want to tell the baby before s/he enters this world?”

Namu looked down at her stomach, rubbing it gently. She didn’t know what to say in Mandarin, but whispered something gently in the Mosuo language. CR also spoke Mosuo towards her stomach. After looking at her stomach, they smiled at each other and then us.


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