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Tibetan Clothing: Diversified Tibetan clothing

Tibet's special natural environment, folk customs, production and lifestyle determine the Tibetan costumes that are in harmony with this. The Tibetan costume culture is rich in connotation, complex in structure, diverse in level and distinctive in character. Tibetan costumes are mainly composed of Tibetan robes, aprons, hats, boots, ornaments and headdresses. Tibetan costumes are colorful, men's clothing is vigorous and bold; Women's clothing is elegant and chic, especially jewelry and silverware, forming a unique style of plateau women. Although there are regional differences in Tibetan costumes, the basic characteristics are large plackets, wide waists, long sleeves, and no buttons. There are various varieties of Tibetan clothing, which can be divided into long-sleeved high-neck shirts, wide-waisted coarse cloth shirts, long-sleeved leather robes, cloth robes, sleeveless robes, long shoulders, short shoulders, and aprons. Tibetan robe is the main clothing style of the Tibetan people, there are many types, from the texture of the clothes are divided into brocade, leather, plain cloth, etc., which is characterized by wide, warm, practical, multi-purpose.


Features of Tibetan costumes

Tibetan costume culture is rich in connotation and diverse in layers, with certain structural characteristics and many hierarchical and regional differences. Tibetan women's costumes are much more complex than men's, and one of the main manifestations of the characteristics and differences of ethnic costumes is women's clothing. The most basic characteristics of Tibetan costumes are fat waist, long sleeves, large placket, right side, long skirt, long boots, braided hair, gold, silver, pearls and jade ornaments, etc., and the leather robes and jackets of pastoral areas, the brocade robes of officials and nobles, and the clothing of monks in religious festivals have this characteristic. Due to the long-term closure of Tibet, the longitudinal difference in the development of Tibetan costumes is not large, and its tone changes are small. The shape and texture of Tibetan costumes depend to a large extent on the ecological environment of the Tibetan people and the production and lifestyle formed on this basis. The Tibetans live on the roof of the world with high terrain, cold climate and harsh natural conditions, and are mainly engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture, which determines that the basic characteristics of the clothing of the Tibetan ancestors are heavy and insulated, wide and warm fat waist, long sleeves and long skirts. In order to adapt to the mobility of animal husbandry production in pursuit of water and grass, a large placket and waist are gradually formed, and there is a wide pouch on the chest, and you can carry ghee, tsamba, tea leaves, and even babies when you go out. When it is hot or working, you can bare your right arm or both arms as needed, tie your sleeves around your waist, and put on them to protect you from the cold when it is cold. From the bronze images and ancient murals before and after the Western Han Dynasty, it is found that the ancient Qiang people are very similar to today's Tibetan costumes, all of which are fat waists, long sleeves, large plackets, right sides, long skirts, tunics, open arms, fur clothing, etc., indicating that Tibetan costumes have strong stability, which is the ecological environment and lifestyle that determine their clothing shapes. The basic characteristics of the structure of Tibetan clothing determine its series of additional costumes, such as belts, boots, various ornaments, etc., which are both practical and have a certain aesthetic taste.


History of Tibetan costumes

At present, the oldest and existing material material about Tibetan costumes is a small number of ornaments unearthed from the Karuo site in Qamdo, including hairpins, huang, beads, necklaces, plaques, shell ornaments, etc., reflecting that the indigenous people of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau four or five thousand years ago have a high aesthetic taste, not only have the bone needles for sewing clothes, but also have the huang, beads and so on that can be created with a certain aesthetic awareness.


Tibetan period: Tibetan costume culture has developed greatly. During the time of the "Zhonger Ding Wang" (equivalent to the middle of the Western Han Dynasty in the Central Plains), Tubo in the Yalong River Valley in the south began to smelt iron, copper, silver and other minerals, creating conditions for the emergence of metal jewelry. Tibetan history records that in the third century A.D., when the Lattotori was praised, the costumes of the Tibetan Zampu were different, and there were differences in the level of clothing.

During the Yuan Dynasty, Tibet was subordinate to the Central Dynasty, so it had close contacts with the Yuan Dynasty in all aspects of culture, and its clothing was also more influenced than the previous dynasty. The Yuan Dynasty divided officials at all levels in Tibet, such as pacification envoys, envoys, and ten thousand households, and different grades wore Tibetan robes with different ornaments and crowns, so that the name of the official uniform of the four officials of the Kashag government before the democratic reform still retains the name of the Yuan Dynasty "Cunzha Huaer Baima" (Tibetan means Mongolian robe with lotus pattern).


During the Ming Dynasty, the ties between the central government and the Tibetan region were further strengthened. The Ming Dynasty set up Wusi Tibetan Xingdu to command the envoys and Duogan Xingdu to command the envoys, which governed the Tibetan areas of present-day Tibet, Gansu, Qinghai and western Sichuan, and often rewarded the upper nobles in the Tibetan areas with a large number of brocade silks and mattresses. Judging from the tribute items in Tibetan areas, textile items such as Xuan, Maoying, Zuli hemp, and Tieli hemp accounted for most of the tribute.

The Qing Dynasty was a unified multi-ethnic state unprecedented in Chinese history. During this period, the cultures of most of China's various ethnic groups have been greatly developed and increasingly stereotyped. The most closely associated with today. The Tibetan costume culture is no exception, so we will focus on the Tibetan costume culture of the Qing Dynasty, and further explore the structure, artistic characteristics, aesthetic characteristics and production technology of the Tibetan costume culture, so as to deepen the characteristics of the Tibetan costume culture.

Tibetan Clothing Varies in Different Regions

Lhasa, Shigatse and the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra River in Shannan. Civilian men's clothing is a large-collared Tibetan robe, with a texture of silk and satin, wearing a flat hat, a belt around the waist, and wearing a knife and other accessories. There was a slight difference between the nobles and the commoners, and the robes of the noble men fell to the instep and were tight-fitting; The robe of ordinary civilians is raised to the knees, and the upper body is loose, which is convenient for holding things and activities. Women usually wear small red and green velvet peaked hats, and black and red cross-patterned wool skirts, which are gang pawns. The jacket is a waist-length short-sleeved shirt with wool, satin, cloth, etc., and is draped with a square velvet shawl. Hand strap silver coral ring. The earrings are mostly gold and silver inlaid with turquoise, and the earrings have hooks, with pearl coral strings hanging from the hair and pearl coral strings hanging from the shoulders. The aristocratic women were more gorgeously dressed, especially jewelry, such as a jewel-encrusted waist, a silk sash, a gold and conch bracelet on the arm, a gem-encrusted ring on the middle and ring fingers, a red amber necklace around the neck, a long necklace of coral, jade, amber and a long necklace of pearl and jade hanging on the chest, and the hair was combed in half on both sides, among which was a beaded top bun, and the loose pigtails were decorated with gold and silver, pearls, corals, precious stones, etc. In addition, it has a triangular bazhu headdress and a large pine ear stone on the top bun.

Northern Tibetan costumes

In the cold climate of northern Tibet, herders usually wear faceless leather robes, and during the festival season, they change into exquisite lambskin robes made of wool or satin, and inlaid with otter or leopard skin on the collar, sleeves and hem. The women's leather robe is trimmed with black velveteen and decorated with red, blue, green and other stripes. Men often wear knives, needles, awls, and fire sickles on their belts, while women often hang milk bucket hooks, knives, sewing boxes, whips, etc. around their waists, which are both practical and decorative. Men wear long hair mixed with red silk braids on the top of their heads, and wear red tasseled felt hats in summer and plush or fox fur hats in winter. Married women comb their long hair into small braids and drape them, weave black threads down the shoulders to their waists, and wear a long woolen or long shawl decorated with turquoise, shells, silver coins, etc. The girl combs the single braid at the back.


Ngari clothing

Lambskin robes are prevalent in the Ngari region, mostly with woolen as the face, and the collar, sleeves, and placket are inlaid with otter skin. Among the Ngari costumes, the Pulan women's costumes are the most unique, finely made and elegantly decorated, especially the "peacock" costumes made of imitation peacocks. Women wear brown and blue cylindrical hats, earrings of coral, pearls and other strings of about 10 centimeters long, with hats and earrings symbolizing the peacock's crown. The back is draped with white goatskin drape, inlaid with a rough strip with a circular pattern, and the perimeter of the drape is inlaid with a brown and blue color with a circular pattern, and the bottom is three-pronged, like a peacock's tail feathers. Ngaripuran costumes are more distinctive in the whole Tibetan costume.


Monk costumes

Tibetan monks generally wear sleeveless shoulders and purple-red skirts underneath, with purple-red robes about two and a half times as long as their shoulders and ribs, and a large yellow or red pleated cloak when chanting. The nuns' costumes are generally the same as those of the monks, and their main clothing is mostly made of 氇. The types of monk's hats include white hats, disc hats, and tasseled cockscomb hats.


Clothing of Tibetan lamas and monks

In line with Buddhist rules, the lamas and monks of Tibet wear differently from the laymen. Generally, they wear purple and red skirt, which is quite long as to reach the instep. The undershirt is for upper body, along with a large and long purplish red kasaya (a patchwork outer vestment). Tibetan lamas wear special boots, some also being barefoot.


In Tibet, Different sects of lamas wear different colors of clothing. The monks who believe in Gelugpa sect wear red clothing, with yellow hat. While for the Nyingmapa sect, whose believers wear red hats. According to the provisions, monks should wear the hat in the chanting of the sutra. While they generally get rid of the hats while out of the temple.

Can I Dress Tibetan Clothing While Touring Tibet?

While traveling in Tibet, you'll certainly meet lots of Tibetans dressed in their traditional costumes. Unlike today's world of fashion, Tibetan clothing features unique design and styles, bearing silent witness to their rich culture and history. It shows the personal beliefs and the personality of the individuals wearing them.

When you visit the city of Lhasa, you can stroll in the broad streets with the Tibetan clothing. You can also take some best shots outside the magnificent monasteries like Drepung and Sera. Norbulinka Palace and Yamdrok Lake are also good places to visit while wearing Tibetan dress.


For tourists who book your tour with us, we can help to offer the one-stop service of Tibetan clothing rental, photography etc., as per your needs. With professional local Tibetan guide, you will get the real and first-hand tips on how to wear the Tibetan dress, and where to take gorgeous photos with these clothing.

Where to Buy Tibetan Clothing?

If you are going to buy the Tibetan clothing as souvenirs or gifts for your Tibet tour, you can go to Barkhor Street and its surrounding areas. There are many fashion boutiques and clothing shops selling the authentic Tibetan dress. The price for Tibetan clothing will tend to be very high, so remember to make more comparisons among different shops. Also try to bargain, or ask your local guide for suggestions.