Bangdian, rainbow at Tibetan women’s waist
Bangdian is Tibetan Apron, a kind of colorful and faconne woolen fabric very popular among Tibetan women. When Tibetan women tie it about the waist as an ornament, the Bangdian is just like a rainbow at Tibetan women’s waist.
Bangdian is a special symbol for married Tibetan women. But some unmarried Tibetan women also wear it as an ornament. Bangdian has become a substitute for Tibetan aprons. Bangdian uses the same materials as pulu (material for Tibetan robes) does, but it is thinner, more delicate and smaller than pulu. Tibetans use Bangdian to make waistcoats, aprons and satchels for women, or mount it on their robes. Modern people even use it to decorate walls of their parlors.
Bangdian is woven with wool-spun thread, which are then dyed and woven into strips. To make an apron, yarn is manually spun first, and then dyed, brushed and woven into strips, and finally the strips are stitched. There are a great variety of aprons. The best one is called "xiema" in Tibetan. It is elaborately woven from 14-20 kinds of dyed yarn. The second best apron variety is called pulu, the relatively common apron. The fabric is close and delicate and the color is bright, making the apron beautiful and tasteful.
The most outstanding character of Bangdian is its contrasting colors. Colors of the same kind are used boldly and arranged ingeniously and harmoniously. Wide strips of some aprons with strongly contrasting colors are displayed together, some narrow strips with the same kinds of colors are combined, and some strips with pure primary colors are inserted into many strips with secondary colors. In terms of disposition, some colors are displayed from dark to light by groups, and some are random without being divided into groups, which results in rough and bright or refined and mild styles.
Bangdian used to be worn by married women, and now unmarried girls also like to wear it. On festive and happy occasions, women wear it around their waists, which is like a rainbow wrapping the body. When several women cluster together, it is colorful, delicate and charming. If you get a chance to travel to Tibet, it is a great idea to buy Bangdian as gifts for your female friends.
Women in the farming and pastoral areas prefer strips of strongly contrasted colors, and women in townships like fine-spun strips of similar tonality for a graceful and mild manner. There are wide-strip bangdians and narrow-strip ones. The former class use sharply contrasted colors. They are bold and bright, and favored by women in the farming and pastoral areas. The latter class use similar tonality to create a graceful and mild quality. They are popular with women in cities.
Bangdians are mainly produced in Shannan, Shigatse and Lhasa, with the products made in Gyaidexiu Township of Konggar County in Shannan area being the most famous. Gyaidexiu is "the hometown of Bangdian," with an apron-producing history of about 600 years. Almost every household in the town weaves woolen aprons, which not only enjoy fame on the domestic market, but are also sold in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Western European countries.
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