People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Mosuo in China


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Mosuo in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
56,000 Narua Buddhism 5.00 % 4.00 % Not available Not available   

Mosuo in China

People Group Video [7]
Source:  Asia HarvestWatchDownload
Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

The Mosuo have been officially included as part of the Naxi nationality. The Mosuo deeply resent this and despise being called Naxi. The two groups have a different language, religion, and culture.

According to Mosuo legends, the ancestors of today's Naxi and Mosuo migrated down from the Tibetan Plateau about 1,000 years ago. Part of the group stopped at Lugu Lake and became today's Mosuo people, while the remainder continued south until they reached Lijiang where today they are the Naxi. After many centuries of separation, the two groups have developed major ethnolinguistic differences.

The Mosuo have a matriarchal and matrilineal society. The azhu system means all property and assets are transferred to the female side of the family, from mother to youngest daughter. Even the family name is passed down from the mother. Instead of taking a husband, Mosuo women are able to have "walk-in" relationships. Men are only allowed to visit their lovers at night. They must leave the woman's house early the next morning and return to their mother's home. If a child is born, the responsibility to raise the child is borne by the mother and her brothers. Often the identity of the father is not known at all. Despite pressure from the government to discontinue the azhu system, a 1994 study revealed 60% of the Mosuo still conform to this way of life.

Tibetan Buddhism has a strong grip on the Mosuo. Altars of white stones are piled in pyramid formations on every corner and outside most homes. "Because the Mosuo have no written language, shamans had to memorize the equivalent of 71 volumes of text and recited them word for word during funerals, births and other events. From the first utterance to the last, a master's recitation took up to 60 hours."

There had never been a known Mosuo believer until fairly recently, when a Mosuo family came to Christ under quite extraordinary, supernatural circumstances. This family shared the gospel with their friends and neighbors, and today there are quite a substantial number of believers among the Mosuo.

View Mosuo in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-08-13
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-07-25
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-07-15
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-07-24
Prayer Links
The Naxi, Mosuo, Pumi, and Lisu
  Submit Update:
Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Northeast Asia
Persecution Rank:43 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:A 1991 study numbered 40,000 Mosuo, living on both sides of the Sichuan-Yunnan border. The Mosuo are primarily concentrated around the shores of beautiful Lugu Lake. Lugu is one of the highest inhabited lake areas in China, at an altitude of 2,685 meters (8,800 ft.) above sea level. Lion Mountain, home to the goddess Gammo, the chief Mosuo deity, rises majestically over the northern shore. No roads led to the lake until 1982. Before that time the Mosuo area was only accessible by foot or on horseback. Still today the whole area is snowbound and cut off from the rest of the world for months at a time during winter.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Mosuo
People Name General: Mosuo
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114230
Joshua Project People ID: 18610
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 56,000
Population all Countries: 56,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Mosuo
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Narua
Language Code (ISO): nru    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Mosuo
Dialect Code:4807
Total Languages:
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Tibetan
Major Religions:
Buddhism90.00 % 
Christianity5.00 %(Evangelical: 4.00 %)
Ethnic Religions5.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent100.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a modest presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Mosuo in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tibeto-Burman, other     Northeast Asia    
      Mosuo China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Mosuo in China          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Narua  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: