Lahu - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Some Lahu follow the Han system of patrilineal descent and inheritance. However, many Lahu continue with a matrilineal emphasis and recognize bilateral descent. The localized, matrilineal extended family is the dominant kin group, though some large households incorporate both married sons and daughters.

Kinship Terminology. The terminology in use varies considerably because of the influence of the Han, Dai, and other groups. In Lincang Prefecture, for instance, Ego's siblings, parallel cousins, and cross cousins are distinguished only by relative age and sex. In Ego's parent's generation, father is accorded a separate term, while father's older and younger brothers share the same term as father's sister's husbands. In the Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, "uncles" are not lumped together: there are separate terms for mother's brother, father's brother, father's sister's husband, and mother's sister's husband, a system which suggests Han influence in its stress on lineality. But Han influence is not consistent throughout the system: maternal and paternal grandparents are distinguished only by sex.


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