World Building Library: Tibetan Dress, Arms, & Armor

$2.50

Tibet is situated in the midst of mountains and sky, southwest of arid Western China and in the stark rain shadow of the Himalayas. In general, Tibet is arid, cold, and high altitude. There are agricultural societies in the southern portion of Tibet at lower altitudes, while herders (some with light farming due to irrigation) live in the higher altitudes. Their clothing must combat these environmental conditions while also being constrained by the natural resources for making clothing and armor. The herders of high altitude raise yaks, grow meager crops of barley thanks to irrigation, and harvest and trade salt from brine lakes.

However, there are groups of herders who can only herd, the land being so barren as to allow nothing else. These people rely on trade to provide for their other needs. People of the low highlands (around 10,000 ft. in altitude) raise sheep and goats and participate in more agriculture, even though they are considered "mountain people" by their trading partners on the plains of the Ganges.

The natural materials for Tibetans are wool from yaks and sheep. Such wool is spindled into yarn and woven into clothing or pressed and beaten into felt. Ropes are made from yak hair, and yak leather is renowned for its durability in boots, tools, and containers. Tweed is made from sheep's wool, and clothes the farmers, who are living in comparatively warmer conditions than their yak-herding cousins, and they often use ox hide for their leather goods. In terms of military attire, leather from animals is always available, as is silver and other metals, used in the lamellar style of armoring. Fortunately, Tibet neighbors many cultural groups and have a long history of trade. Indian and Persian influences came from the south and west while silk was introduced into Tibetan society through contact with the Chinese.

Now that you have an idea of the challenges Tibetans are faced by their environment and the available materials, I hope you enjoy World Building Library: Tibetan Dress, Arms, and Armor. Look for other articles in the World Building Library covering different topics of Tibetan society and how to integrate them into your game.


  • Model: XRPWBL9
  • Manufactured by: Expeditious Retreat Press

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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 08 December, 2006.

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