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History of Tibetan Kongpo garment

By Source:China Tibet Online 2015-05-07

In the Nyingchi Kongpo Gyamda and Menling counties of the Tibet Autonomous Region (kown as Kongpo region in the past), people are used to wearing a kind of black pulu, a Tibetan woolen fabric,all year round. It is known as the Kongpo garment.

This garment doesn't have a collar or sleeves, and the bottom is separated into two or three different flaps, looking like a dress.

The front of the garment, the sleeves and the bottom flaps are golden-framed,forming an unique Tibetan clothing style.

It is said that the Kongpo garment has been popular in the Kongpo region for more than 700 years, and has never been replaced by any other kind of clothing even though they are more gorgeous. Legend has it that over 700 years ago, Kongpo used to be a Tibetan tribe under the rule of King Gyalpo. As a brave and intelligent man, Gyalpo led the tribe to flourish, earning respect and support from the civilians.

One year, the tribe was attacked by foreign invaders. In an effort to protect the tribe and ensure the citizens to work and live in peace, King Gyalpo led an army to defend the tribe. Before the departure, villagers from many different towns gathher together. They danced a kind of Kongpo dance around a bonfire, bidding farewell to show respects to the soliders.

A month later, the soldiers returned in triumph. The villagers gathered again to greet their heroes, only to know the King Gyalpo had sacrificed his life in the battle.

On hearing the bad news, villagers broke down and wept. Buddhists turned the wheel prayers and chanted Buddhists scriptures wishing to help the King rest in peace. Some elderly Tibetan women tailored a special pulu for the dead king according to his body which was separated by the enemies.

In order to commemorate the king, everyone in the tribe, men and women, old and young, wore this special clothing, which was later known as the "Kongpo garment".

As time passed, the Kongpo garment has gradually become popular among Tibetan people.Today,not only Tibetan people in Kongpo but quite a number of Tibetans living in other parts of Tibet or ethnic groups like Lhoba and Mampa also wear the Kongpo garment.

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