Polyandry in Tibet Fraternal polyandry from the Latin frater—brother , also called adelphic polyandry, is a form of polyandry in which a woman is married to two or more men who are brothers. Fraternal polyandry was and sometimes still is found in certain areas of Tibet , Nepal , and Northern India,  where polyandry was accepted as a social practice.
Primogeniture dictated that the eldest son inherited the family estate, while younger sons had to leave home and seek their own employment. Primogeniture maintained family estates intact over generations by permitting only one heir per generation. Fraternal polyandry also accomplishes this, but does so by keeping all the brothers together with just one wife so that there is only one set of heirs per generation.
In Tibet the practice was particularly popular among the priestly Sakya class. The female equivalent of fraternal polyandry is sororate marriage. Partible paternity[ edit ] Anthropologist Stephen Beckerman points out that at least 20 tribal societies accept that a child could, and ideally should, have more than one father, referring to it as " partible paternity.
The mother's non-resident husbands are not recognized as fathers, although the mother's co-resident brothers are, since they are part of the mother's lineage.
Culture[ edit ] According to inscriptions describing the reforms of the Sumerian king Urukagina of Lagash ca. For example, the selective abortion of female fetuses in India has led to a significant margin in sex ratio and, it has been suggested, results in related men "sharing" a wife.
In Tibet, polyandry has been outlawed since the Chinese takeover of the area in , so it is difficult to measure the incidence of polyandry in what may have been the world's most polyandrous society. The Guanches , the first known inhabitants of the Canary Islands , practiced polyandry until their disappearance. Polyandry, on the other hand, was quite common. According to European accounts, during a great famine in 14th or 15th century, girls were killed after coming to life in order to equilibrate demography.
This resulted in a surplus of males and a shortage of females, which led to the adoption of polyandry, allowing a woman to marry a maximum of five men. In August , two Kenyan men entered into an agreement to marry a woman with whom they had both been having an affair.
Kenyan law does not explicitly forbid polyandry, although it is not common custom. Polyandry in India and Polyandry in Tibet In the reign of Urukagina of Lagash, "Dyandry, the marriage of one woman to two men, is abolished. Notovitck mentioned polyandry in Ladakh or Little 'Tibet' in his record of his journey to Tibet.
Polyandry was widely and to some extent still is practised in Lahaul-Spiti situated in isolation in the high Himalayas in India. In Arabia southern "All the kindred have their property in common That this was plain was evidenced by the custom among the women of wearing a hat containing a number of horns, one for each of the subsequent husbands, all of whom were also brothers to the husband.
Indeed, if a husband had no natural brothers, he would adopt another man to be his brother so that he would be allowed to marry.