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Ngari of Xizang: Amazing “peacock dress”

By Liu Fang,Jiang Cuilian,Chonda Drokar Source:xzxw.com 2022-05-26


Photo shows women in "peacock dress" in Khorchak Village, Burang County.

The special geographical location and cultural customs of Burang County in Ngari Prefecture, southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, bred its unique history and culture. Burang's "Shun" costumeis one of the representatives. At present, there are less than 30 sets of "Shun" costume, which are inherited for a hundred years. They are only worn during festivals and grand ceremonies. Among all 18 styles of "Shun" costume,the "peacock dress" is the most exquisite and unique one.

According to legend, Prince Norsang of ancient Burang built a magnificent palace by the beautiful Peacock River. Among the 300 beautiful concubines of Prince Norsang, there was a kind princess named Edro Lhamo. Unable to bear the jealousy and persecution of other concubines, she turned into a beautiful peacock on a full moon night, fliedover the vast snow-covered mountains and disappears into the blue night sky. In order to commemorate the virtuous princess, the people of Burang, who believed in kindness and freedom, made this beautiful dress with their handmade Tibetan robes and strings of precious turquoise, beeswax, pearls and various gems, and handed down from generation to generation.

Tsamjo Droma, a villager of Burang County's Khorchak Village, is a mother of three who lives with her mother. Because of our visit, she and several other sisters from the village brought out their cherished peacock dresses.This kind of dress is found only in the village of Khorchak, where only seven families have it.The peacock dress was passed down to women but not men. When Tsamjo Dromagot married over 10 years ago, her mother handed it down to her. In her eyes, although she is the inheritor, the clothes belong to the whole family.

Tsamjo Droma's mother Pasang Gelang said patiently, pointing to the outfit on her daughter: “Burang women usually wear brown or black Tibetan robes and “Dingma” (brown and blue wool cylinder cap) on their heads. They wear earrings with a length of more than 10 cm made of coral and pearls, and the longest reaches 30 cm. Legend has it that the shape is modeled after a peacock.On their backs, they wore white goat-skin 'Gaiba' , which is made of pure white and smooth goat skin. Its shape looks like a peacock, too.”

Every “peacock dress” can't be exactly the same because it's all sewn by hand. However, each of them is equally precious. In the folklore of Burang, only women with excellent moral character, intelligence and amazing beauty can wear "Shun" costume.


Photo shows women in "peacock dress" in Khorchak Village, Burang County.

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