Luowu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Luowu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Luowu, who were first referred to in a 1909 study, are one of numerous subgroups of the official Yi nationality. The Luowu were described in 1913 as timid and peaceful. Ninety percent of the people suffered from goiter, while other prevalent diseases included malaria, smallpox, leprosy, typhoid fever, and tuberculosis. The Luowu living in the Tongchang District of Yimen County call themselves Alu. These people reportedly speak a language so different from the Nisu (another Yi subgroup) in the southern part of their own district that they have to use Chinese to communicate with each other.


The Luowu are believed to have originated in Wuding County, northern Yunnan. Chinese records state that the Luowu lived there in the 1380s, in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Because of their many expeditions the Luowu were allowed to serve in the local court of the area. They migrated to other parts of Chuxiong Prefecture and ended up where they live today.


The 1995 Chuxiong Xian Zhi states, "The Luowu are monogamous and prefer to marry only other Luowu. A Luowu couple meets through a matchmaker and then becomes engaged. A Luowu wedding ceremony lasts for three days. On the first day the bridegroom gets up at daybreak and goes to the home of his bride where he meets with his matchmaker, bride, and all of her relatives to present wedding gifts to them. Many important rituals ensue. On the final day the suona (a long horn which emits a high-pitched sonorous wail) is blown. The bride and her entourage are forbidden to enter the house of the groom until the bride's family have blown the suona horn. The two are considered married when the bride has entered the home of her bridegroom."


The Luowu are polytheists. They live in fear of and bondage to a number of deities and demons. They believe that, although some spirits are good, most are vengeful and bad, desiring to kill and destroy them. The Luowu also venerate their ancestors to the fourth or fifth generation.


Many early missionaries were great ambassadors for Christ. Maria Dyer, who became Hudson Taylor's wife, revealed her deep commitment when she considered Taylor's marriage proposal. Dyer wrote, "If he loves me more than Jesus he is not worthy of me - if he were to leave the Lord's work for the world's honour, I would have nothing further to do with him." However, few missionaries working in China prior to their expulsion in 1949 focused on the groups in the mountains of central Yunnan. As a result, the Luowu remain unreached today, although gospel recordings in their language were produced in 1999.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Luowu (Luoh-woo)
People Name in Country Luowu
Population in China 29,000
World Population 29,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Alu, Lao-wou, Lou-wou, Lowu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Luowu (Luoh-woo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18570
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country More than 22,000 people belonging to the Luowu ethnic group live in the mountains of central Yunnan Province. They are distributed in Yimen (9,000), Lufeng (7,000), Shuangbai (4,000), and Chuxiong (2,000) counties..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nasu, Wusa (29,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nasu, Wusa 29,000
For Primary Language: Nasu, Wusa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
95.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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