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The Kingdom of Women: Life, Love and Death in China's Hidden Mountains

The Kingdom of Women: Life, Love and Death in China's Hidden Mountains
Choo Waihong

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In a mist-shrouded valley on China's invisible border with Tibet is a place known as the 'Kingdom of Women', where a small tribe called the Mosuo lives in a cluster of villages that have changed little in centuries. This is one of the last matrilineal societies on earth, where power lies in the hands of women. All decisions and rights related to money, property, land and the children born to them rest with the Mosuo women, who live completely independently of husbands, fathers and brothers, with the grandmother as the head of each family. A unique practice is also enshrined in Mosuo tradition - that of 'walking marriage', where women choose their own lovers from men within the tribe but are beholden to none.

Author Info

Choo Waihong was a corporate lawyer with top law firms in Singapore and California before she took early retirement in 2006 and began writing travel pieces for publications such as China Daily. She lived for seven years with the Mosuo tribe and now spends half the year with them in Yunnan, China.


‘A fascinating book…I enjoyed it very much’ - Jonathan Ross, The Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross

'A fascinating portrait of one of the world's last matriarchal societies, a land without fathers or husbands, without marriage or divorce, written by an international corporate lawyer who ditched her hectic life to embrace this Shangri-la inside deepest China.' - Jan Wong, author of Beijing Confidential

`A crisp account by a high powered Singaporean lawyer of how she renounced her former life of fifteen hour working days in a male dominated corporate world to find her feminist soul in the last matriarchal ethnic group remaining in China. Full of insights and touching descriptions, this is one of the most accessible and concrete descriptions of the Mosuo, a group more analysed than understood, putting the humanity of this tribe at the forefront of their identity.' - Kerry Brown, author of CEO China and The New Emperors

‘A most engaging account of life among the matrilineal and matriarchal Mosuo tribe in China's Yunnan province, but also a lament to a way of life now threatened by modernity and tourism. Full of detail and telling insights into gender roles, it will appeal to armchair travellers as well as to anthropologists and sociologists.’ - Jonathan Fryer, SOAS

“A refreshing and authentic portrait of a hidden society in patriarchal China. A must read for anyone studying women and alternative societies’ - Hsiao-Hung Pai, author of Scattered Sand and Chinese Whispers

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784537241
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2017
Number of Pages: 240
Height: 226
Width: 155
Illustrations: 10 bw integrated, 20 colour in 16pp plates

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