Materiality and Value in the Practice of Ethnographic Collection
Women's jacket from Hima Ālaya. Collected by Cameron David Warner 2018.
Nyema Dronma's collection of contemporary women's fashion draws on her life growing up in urban Lhasa and her education in fashion design at the London College of Fashion. Here she uses plant-based materials to update the sheepskin look typical of Tibetan peasants and nomads.
Men's formal robes from Rewa. Collected by Cameron David Warner 2018.
The most popular men's brand for daily wear and formal wear is Rewa, which means hope. Rewa uses the chiru (Tibetan antelope) as their logo because for them it symbolizes world peace and a positive future, achieved through ‘combining tradition and modernization.’
Opera Mask Hooded Sweatshirt (from the 1376 store) Collected by Cameron David Warner 2018.
This hooded sweatshirt features an opera performer's white mask on the hood when fully zipped up. Look for it in the music video by the hip-hop group Anu Ranglug. Mixing hip-hop and opera helps to introduce classical Tibetan opera to a new generation of young, urban Tibetans.
Untitled (2017), by Nyema Dronma (b. 1995).
Nyema Dronma suggested that I collect this photograph of a young Nangma (choreographed dance) performer, because her costume necklace refers to the ornamented amulet case Prince Peter collected from Pema Dolkar. The contemporary necklace is an imitation made of rayon fabric and cannot hold an amulet.
Pema Dolkar's amulet case (གའུ). On loan from the National Museum.
Pema Dolkar would have kept her amulet, a special prayer for protection written on paper wrapped tightly in cloth, inside this ornament. The shape resembles the zemaramgo flower and the necklace in Nyema Dronma's photograph.
Pema Dolkar's hair ornament (སྤ་ཕྲུག). On loan from the National Museum.
Before 1950, aristocratic women like Pema Dolkar wore hair ornaments like this one to show off their wealth. It is made of pearls, coral, jade, silk, and dzi (the brown and white agate stones with eyes).
Silk Appliqué Tangka depicting White Tara (2018) by Tenzin Nyima (b. 1980)
Tenzin Nyima's tangka (portable art) depicts White Tara, one of the most popular Buddhist deities across the Himalayas. White Tara is a compassionate mother figure, who sits on a moon disc coming out of a lotus. She wears royal garments and holds a blue lotus. Each feature of the tangka has a multilayered significance. For example, her seven eyes enable her to see all beings who need her wisdom and kindness. It took Tenzin Nyima and his team six months to complete it.
Maṇḍala Painting (2018) by Dawa Thulong (b. 1976)
Dawa Thulong's painting is a reproduction of a small piece of a 15th century mural from Thubchen Monastery in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Dawa Thulong used the same natural materials as in the original, such as crushed Himalayan minerals and gold, to restore the mural and paint this reproduction. It took Dawa Thulong and his assistants six months to complete the painting.