Lisu - Kinship, Marriage, and Family



Kinship. The clan system seems to have lost all important functions save regulation of marriage and periodic worship of the mythic founder. Ten or more clan names still persist, such as Tiger, Bear, Monkey, Bamboo, and Fire. Kin terms follow the Iroquois system.

Marriage. Prior to marriage, young adults had access to village youth houses where they could socialize and entertain visitors from other villages. Thus, many marriages were based on courtship and love. However, parents arranged the marriages, and permission of the mother's brother was required. In most cases, brides joined their husband's household, but matrilocal residence was not uncommon. Betrothal costs were heavy, including livestock, and before 1949 some couples resorted to elopement in order to avoid the costs or the possibility of parental disapproval. No information is available about current practices.

Domestic Unit. The monogamous nuclear family was the basic unit. All but the youngest son left the parental household after marriage, setting up their own households nearby.

Inheritance. All sons received some land, livestock, and household property, but the son who remained in the household to care for the aging parents inherited a larger share, as well as the house. Daughters had no land-inheritance rights but received a dowry of jewelry. They were also allowed to accumulate private savings through the raising of pigs and poultry or other economic activities.


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