Bhutan’s culture is very much alive and expressed in everything, including the traditional clothing its people have been wearing for centuries. While machine milled traditional clothing is popular for daily wear, the traditionally woven dress is worn on all formal occasions including working in the office. At birth, marriage, death and promotion gifts of cloth are offered. On formal occasions, the Bhutanese wear their best hand-woven clothes.
The woman’s kera is an ankle length dress. Made from finely woven fabrics, the kira has traditional and beautifully coloured patterns. Under the kera, woman wear a wonju (blouse) which is held in place over the shoulder with a koma (silver buckle). Decorations, colours and texture determine the woman’s social status and class. Usually over the dress a toego (open jacket) is worn. The outfit is completed by necklaces made from turquoise, corals, pearls and the precious agate eye stone. These ‘dzi beads’ are called ‘tears of the gods’.
The men wear a gho, tied in place at the waist with a small hand-woven kera (belt). Above the kera a large pouch is formed in which the men can carry traditional items like betel nut and a bowl. The costume is completed with long socks and shoes or tradional handmade boots, sometimes with beautiful designs embroidered on them in the most splendid colours.
A loom weaving