Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/123

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115
HOME-LIFE OF THE THIBETANS.


truth that it would be quite impossible to wash an adult Thibetan down to the skin. The beauty of a woman in Thibet consists in her being stout, broad, thick-set, and heavily mcmbered, and the accom- plishments to be desired are that she should be above all things auda- cious, a good hand at a bargain and at repartee; in fact, a typical Bil- lingsgate virago, if massive enough, would pass as a Venus in Thibet.

The ordinary food of the country is barley that, having been parched, is afterward ground and called Tsam pa, or Tsang pa. This meal they moisten with tea made in the Thibetan manner—i, e., of boiled "brick-tea" buttered and salted—or else, if too poor to use tea, moistened with soup, by mixing it in a cup and working the paste round with the fingers against the side of the cup. They eat this paste soft and moist. Tea made of the filthy "brick-tea," boiled with but- ter, salt being added to taste, and the mixture well churned, is the ordinary drink of the country, soup taking its place among the poorer classes. There are, of course, other kinds of food, but the above is the staple. They have a kind of cimpatti, or scone, a common food. They eat flesh, chiefly of pigs, and fowls, but all depends upon their locality and means. They have no established rules, customs, or fixed hours for eating, the nearest approach to a rule being to take what they can get on the spot when hungry. Tea, as stated above, is the chief drink, so much so that it has become the custom to ask people to come and "drink tea," when to come and eat dinner is really intended, and this even in cases where the family is too poor to provide tea, and no tea in such cases is expected. After tea, as favorite beverage, comes a kind of barley-beer called Khionrj in the east, Tchong in the west, and then a kind of distilled barley-whisky called A ra. In the past- urages buttermilk is the ordinary drink, and curds and whey, called Ta ra, are in favor. On the days on which they boil their meat they prepare no tea, but use the broth as a drink instead, on economical grounds; and on broth-days they mix the Tsam pja with broth instead of tea.

Coming to the Thibetan costume. The men wear the TcJtru ha, a long and thick woolen robe, sheepskin in winter, descending down till it would drag considerably on the ground if let loose. It is doubled well across the chest and front till the ends or edges almost meet the shoulders, where one edge is fastened under the right arm with a tape or string bow. In dressing, the man, having on his T<hni ba hanging loose about him, holds his sash or belt about on a level with the knees, or a little above them, and this he draws in to make a gather, and then the belt, with all of the robe above it, is drav^Ti up and the belt fastened round the waist. This leaves a large pouch of course, falling over the belt all round, and leaves the foot of the robe about half-way between the knee and the calf. Into the pouch so formed they put anything they have to carry, such as their Tsatn pa cup, and even little dogs, and sometimes little pigs.