The 7,475 (1990) Moinba live in southern Tibet, primarily in Medog, Nyingchi, and Cona counties. Their language is a member of the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the Sino-Tibetan Family; the Moinba language has many dialects. Written communication is in Tibetan. The Chinese characters for the name are read "Menba," which is a Tibetan place name. The people call themselves by a variety of names, which are not specified in written Chinese sources.

Moinba live among Tibetans and intermarry with them. Their wooden houses are two or three stories in height with bamboo or straw roofs.

The subtropical Moinba region is forested and has abundant rainfall. The Moinba grow and eat rice, maize, millet, buckwheat, soybeans, and sesame seeds. They have also adopted some Tibetan dishes, such as roasted barley, buttered tea, and hot, spicy foods. The economy also includes hunting and pastoralism. The Moinba were under monastic-domain feudalism from the fourteenth century until the 1950s.

While most marriages are monogamous, polygyny and polyandry were allowed into the past. Women's status is equal to men's in the household.

The majority of the Moinba are Lamaists, like the Tibetans, though some still maintain the traditional shamanistic religion. The Moinba follow the same religious calendar as the Tibetans. They use water burial, sky burial (burial in a tree), and cremation to dispose of their dead.


Ma Yin, ed. (1989). Chinas Minority Nationalities, 220-223. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

National Minorities Questions Editorial Panel (1985). Questions and Answers about China's Minority Nationalities. Beijing: New World Press.

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