The Empire of Women, Not a Fairy Tale, Chinese cover The Empire of Women, Not a Fairy Tale, English cover A view of Lugu Lake Exhibtion View at Currents, Bejing Exhibition view of a reconstruction of the house at Lentos Museum, Linz Inside the house, at Lentos Museum, Linz The Reconstruction of the House of the Qiao Zi Family, Schauspielhaus Zürich The Reconstruction of the House of the Qiao Zi Family, Schauspielhaus Zürich The Reconstruction of the House of the Qiao Zi Family, Schauspielhaus Zürich Links: Behind the female fireplace there is a small altar with the sacred symbolizes of the spirit of fire, right: the Zumu outside Walking marriage Map of the southeast of China

For this project, the Mosuo family Qiau Zi from the Chinese village of Lijuazie build a new Zumu, and relocated their old community house to Bejing. Their intention was to inform a wider public about the principles of their matriarchal social structures and to be become acknowledged as a minority that needs to be (financially) supported by the central Government in Bejing in the same way as other minorities. The Mosuo are an ethnic group in the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of Southeast China. Their houses serve community life and reflect the social structures of their society. Women in Mosuo households hold the role usually assumed by the man in a traditionally patriarchal family: the family name, property, economic means, and education of the children are responsibilities shared by all members of the household, male and female. Members of the family clan elect a matriarch as their temporary leader. A traditional Mosuo house consists of various buildings around a courtyard. A Zumu is the common space shared by all. Its two sacred fireplaces and two pillars holding the roof stand for the equal value given men and women in this society. In 1976, anthropologist Lévi-Strauss introduced the concept of “house societies” to describe communities where the domestic unit is more important for the social organization than ancestry.

Copyright
In cooperation with Currents – Art & Music, Beijing

This project has been shown at
Mosuo Fireplace Goddess, Currents – Art & Music, Beijing, 2007

 

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