Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Deciding What to Wear

Although we had an unseasonably warm autumn, it's been chilly here in the Napa Valley all month, sometimes below freezing, although certainly not as cold as Tibet, or even Ottawa, where my older brother Steven lives. In an e-mail from him yesterday, he reported, "The overnight low was about -24 Fahrenheit. You should've seen me," he says. "I had on a fleece jacket under my winter coat (a snowboarding jacket), two ski caps with the hood up on my jacket, tights under my pants and ski pants over top, insulated gloves and snowmobile boots. All you could see was my eyes. And believe it or not, I passed people on the street with no hat on at all. The air is so cold you have to bite it off in chunks. You would not believe the colour of the sky just before dawn though. The air is cold, but clear beyond belief-- and the colours of blue in the sky remove any doubt that's where heaven is."

But I digress... My new home has very high ceilings and is somewhat drafty and hard to heat, so the attire for my 'Seven Years in Tibet' Dinner & a Movie will be wooly and snuggly warm, although I will probably have to shed a few layers once the kitchen gets fired up.

Traditional Tibetan Dress

The chupa is the traditional garment of Tibet for both men and women, and features an asymmetrical wrap front, wide neckband, and simply bound armholes, and the wrap-front attaches under the right arm with a special clasp. For women, the chupa is worn with a colored blouse that has a shawl collar showing at the neckline. Married women wear a pangden apron made of three strips of striped cloth, often embroidered with floral patterns. The chupa is often topped with a sleeveless vest, or worn with a zhen shawl made of colorful patchwork squares, which is draped to leave the right arm bare. Another version of the chupa, called the treche is worn by Tibetan monks. Tibetan garments are also worn with colorful, elaborate hats, and in the cold months are covered by an outer coat constructed of rectangular panels of homespun cloth.

Here is a link to a website that features an excellent collection of photographs of Traditional Tibetan Garments.