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A Full Guide about Tibetan Clothing

Time: 09-07-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

The development of Tibetan dressing custom is inextricably related to the natural environment and climate conditions of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau on which they live. The way of production and living also exerted influence on the formation and development of Tibetan clothing. The inheritance of Tibetan dressing custom is often closely linked with the historical and cultural development of the people, reflecting the collective wisdom of the people, and implying the aesthetic consciousness and aesthetic taste of the people.

Tibetan Clothes
Tibetan Clothes

In brief, due to the difference in natural conditions, modes of production and history, the Tibetan costume is exceedingly rich. This article is to introduce traditional and modern Tibetan clothing from three aspects, Tibetan men’s clothing, women’s dress and monk clothing. 

Part 1. Tibetan Men’s Clothing
Part 2. Tibetan Women’s Clothing
Part 3. Tibetan Monk Clothing 
Part 4. Modern Tibetan Dress

Part 1. Tibetan Men’s Clothing 

Tibetan men’s clothing is categorized into Legui (working dress), Zhuigui (formal dress) and Zhagui (warrior dress).

Legui (working dress)

Legui varies with the change of four seasons within the year.

In spring and summer they usually wear waist-level short shirt made of cotton or brocade laced with silk produced by white cocoon, and a long gown with round neck and wide sleeves. They put the long gown around their waist and tie the two sleeves overlapped on the back of the waist. The drooping parts of the long gown right reach the knees and form a pocket around the waist to carry portable items. The waistline, crotch and trouser legs are all very wide. They wear short Tibetan shoes and felt cap.

 

Tibetan Clothes for men
Tibetan Clothes for men

Clothes in autumn and winter are all made of sheep and cow leather or man-made tufting. Long gowns are made of wool or sheep skin. They wear leather cap to protect the ears and wear long boots or self-made Tibetan shoes with leather bottom and woolen upper.

Zhuigui (formal dress)

Zhuigui is the dress for grand festivals and ceremonies. The materials used in Zhuigui are quite expensive with exquisite workmanship. It is the fine Tibetan costume. The upper Zhuigui is divided into inner and outer shirts.

Formal Tibetan Men Dress
Formal Tibetan Men Dress

  • The inner shirt is usually made of silk, with the colour of white, purple and light yellow. It is a kind of Chinese-style jacket with buttons down the front and high collar, and the front of the garment and collar is laced with golden or silver. Some are also made of satins with different patterns and colours. The length of sleeves of the inner shirt reaches the wrist.
  • The material for the outer shirt is brocade with patterns of Yuanshou, Miaolian and other flowers. The style of the outer shirt is nothing different from that of the inner one but without sleeves. Collars, cuffs and lower hems are laced with otter skin, or leopard skin or tiger skin. The whole lower hems of the long gown are almost covered by the laces.
  • The trousers are made of silk.
  • They wear long Tibetan boots with leather bottoms and woolen upper.
  • The accessories for male include primarily Gawu and broadsword. The hemline of the long gown is made into beautiful wavy folds. Wearing silver sword engraved with the pattern of Loong, and Tibetan boots, the handsome and brave Kangba men is fascinating.

Zhagui (warrior dress)

Fox-fur hat on head, Pulu laced with marten or woolen Chuba, long sword around the waist, the carrying of amulet, rifles and pistols enhance the beauty of masculinity of the handsome warriors.

Tibetan Warriors Men Dress
Tibetan Warriors Men Dress

Part 2. Tibetan Women’s Clothing

The features of Tibetan women’s clothing are mainly reflected in the transformation of festival costumes, significant events and ceremonies in life. The costume in adulthood rituals and that for premarital females are quite different, which is a feature of Tibetan costume system. Usually ceremonial clothes are much more gorgeous and solemn than ordinary clothes.

Tibetan Women’s Clothing 
Tibetan Women’s Clothing

  • Ordinary clothes worn by Tibetan females are long gowns without sleeves, with woolen pants as underwear and woven apron and wide belt around the waist. They wear traditional Tibetan boots.
  • In summer, females wear elegant skirts with bright colours and beautiful hats or scarfs. Sometimes they wear jewelry symbolizing auspicious omen. In winter, they wear long overcoat that reaches over the knees or shawl made of yak skin, goat skin or sheep skin.
  • Married women wear colourful striped aprons and strips of cloth on hair, and wear gold and silver ornaments, coral and kallaite silver accessories and praying necklace. Unmarried girls sometimes wear special costumes, implying the wealth of her family, so that wooers could estimate the dowry they would obtain.

Part 3. Tibetan Monk Clothing

Monk clothing is simple and solemn. It is categorized into “Duiga” (waistcoat), “Xiamute” (monk skirt) and “Chasan” (kasaya). In Tibetan costume culture, monk clothing is the most intact one that experienced the smallest change.

Tibetan Monk Clothing 
Tibetan Monk Clothing

  • Normally, monks wear red sleeveless waistcoat “Duiga” on the upper body and aubergine monk skirt “Xiamute” around the lower body, and an aubergine Kasaya. The Kasaya is about 70 centimetres wide and 2.5 times longer than the body. The Kasaya is wrapped around the upper body without covering the right shoulder, and reaches the instep. When chanting sutras and praying, monks wear a huge piece of aubergine mantle “Dagemu” outside the Kasaya.
  • Monk clothing varies in texture, colour and style according to the ranks and seniority. Ordinary monks could only wear Duiga made of red Pulu or wool. The ones wearing Duiga and Kasaya made of yellow silk and satins are Living Buddha or eminent monks.

Part 4. Modern Tibetan Dress

With the acceleration of opening up and modernization in Tibet, like other traditional cultures, traditional Tibetan costume is also facing the huge impact of modern society. Modern clothes such as business suits, jeans and jackets could be seen everywhere in cities and towns in Tibet. And the trend is spreading to the vast agricultural and pastoral areas. The good thing is that beautiful, convenient and trendy Tibetan costumes with Tibetan characteristics being reserved appear in response to the time. In the collision between tradition and modernity, Tibetan costume culture will be more and more diverse and colourful.

Modern Tibetan Dress
Modern Tibetan Dress

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user portrait Mr. Mo*** from: Travelers' Questions Might Help

I'm interested in the 14 day trip from Lhasa to Nepal trip. In in January or February would be great. how much would that be? is there space?

best regards Mo***

Answered by Nancy

Dear Mo***,

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Sorry we do not have any group tour in Jan or Feb to Kailash as there will be heavy snow and the road will be blocked, and also the area would be closed, and no one do the business there, no hotel, no restaurants there. So from Nov to March we would not send any groups there.
If you would like to do this tour, you must plan it from April to Oct. and at present we have the group tour in next 6th May and 29th May, and we will have more available date in future. if you are interested in joining in this, please kindly let me know. Best regards.

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