The East of Bhutan | The Brokpa

The Brokpa

In the realm of Tibetan culture, the word »Brokpa« actually means »animal herder«, but is used in Bhutan exclusively as the term for the inhabitants of the rainy Sakteng and Merak valley.

The main source of income of the Brokpa is sheep and yak breeding. From the wool of these working animals the Brokpa women produce artful weavings.


The traditional Brokpa costumes are unique to Bhutan. The women wear a garment that resembles a Mexican poncho and a red jacket which, in the lower half, is decorated with woven patterns or with animal figures. The clothing of the men consists of leather gaiters, wool pants and jacket, as well as a sleeveless fur vest, which is worn over the jacket and whose fur can be turned to the outside when raining. Serving both genders as a headdress, is a cap made of yak felt having several thick, long tips from which the rainwater is to run off.

The Laya in the North
The East of Bhutan
.  The Brokpa
The Sub-Tropical South
West and Central Bhutan

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In the area of Brokpa, known for its weaving art, wool fabrics are mainly woven on the foot-pedal loom.
Photograph by Anthony Aris

Handspun silk; measurements 306 x 94 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
Finely crafted fabric with a central diamond motiv which shows the intricate art of weaving with warp and weft threads.

Wood, bamboo, iron; measurements 41 x 43,5 x 32,5 centimeters; on loan from the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien
Almost every household produces wool. Only women work with this kind of spinning wheel, however, with the hand spindle, the men may also work.