The Laya are known for their distinct costumes. The most prominent accessory is a cone-shaped hat made out of bamboo.
Photograph by Erich Lessing
Basket, bamboo, leather: measurements 50 x 52 x 34 centimeters; on loan from Françoise Pommaret
Leather reinforcements protect the basket, used for carrying or provisions, from rain and snow.
A woman of the high valley of Laya, located at about 4000 meters above sea-level, in front of her summer tent made out of yak hair.
Photograph by Robert Dompnier
Blouse, wrap skirt and jacket: napped wool fabric, on the jacket are insets of imported Tibetan fabrics; hat (layap bulo): woven bamboo with worked-in bark; boots: napped wool, leather; rich jewelry made out of various materials; on loan from the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien
The Laya are semi-nomadic yak breeders in the mountainous north of Bhutan. Their lifestyle also defines their traditional clothing.
Horn with bone-plate; length 50 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
Yak horns are often placed above the doorways of the house in order to prevent the entrance of malevolent powers. They are also placed on Steinsetztungen/stone markers in the landscape, which is indicative of the ancient pre-Buddhist practices of making offerings to the nature deities. Often sacred Buddhist formulas are inscribed on yak horns, whose ritual use and symbolic worth dates back to pre-Buddhist times, as in this case with the inscription »O mani padme hum«.