Lugu Lake is located in the northwest of the Yunnan plateau, with the middle of the lake forming the border between the Ninglang County of Yunnan Province and the Yanyuan County of Sichuan Province. The formation of the lake is thought to have occurred in a geological fault belonging to the geological age of the Late Cenozoic. It is an alpine lake at an elevation of 2,685 metres (8,809 ft) and is the highest lake in the Yunnan Province. The lake is surrounded by mountains and has five islands, four peninsulas, fourteen bays and seventeen beaches.
The lake’s shores are inhabited by many minority ethnic groups, such as the Mosuo, Norzu, Yi, Pumi and Tibetan. The most numerous of these are the Mosuo people (also spelt “Moso”), said to be a sub clan of the Naxi people (as per Chinese records of Minorities in China) with ancient family structure considered as “a live fossil for researching the marital development history of Human beings” and “the last quaint Realm of Matriarchy.” It is considered as the home of the Moso Tribe However, Mosuo have a separate identity from the Naxis, as it is said that the Chinese used the word Mosuoas a generic term for different ethnic groups, including the Naxi.
Lugu Lake is called the “mother lake” by the Mosuo people. The lake is also well known in Chinese travel pamphlets as the region of “Amazons,” “The Kingdom of Women” and “Home of the Matriarchal Tribe”, this last name highlighting the dominant role of the Mosuo women in their society. The marriage rites of the Mosuo people are known as “azhu marriage” ceremony and this unique aspect of their social culture has given the title “exotic land of daughters” to the area. It is also known as “A Quaint Realm of Matriarchy.” The matriarchal and matrilineal society of the Mosuos is also termed the “Women’s World.”