Naxi - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Naxi kinship and descent is a highly contested subject. Largely on the basis of dialect and kinship differences, contemporary Chinese ethnologists distinguish two "branches" of Naxi, the Lijiang Naxi and the Yongning Naxi. The Lijiang Naxi reckon descent in the patriline and maintain patrilineal descent groups. The same is true of the formerly aristocratic lineages in Yongning, but as a whole the Yongning Naxi uphold an ideal of descent from primordial matriclans, and most commoner households today reckon descent in the matriline. This has led most Chinese ethnologists to designate the Yongning Naxi as a "matriarchal" society which, in accordance with the social evolutionary theories of Lewis Morgan and Friedrich Engels, is in the process of becoming a patrilineal-patriarchal society. Accordingly, the Lijiang Naxi are considered the more evolved branch. This theory remains open to debate.

Kinship Terminology. Traditional Naxi kinship terminology follows the Omaha pattern. The terms for same-sex siblings denote birth order.

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