The striking and beautiful costumes of the Khampas are the main store of families' wealth, and have been handed down from generation to generation. Rich nomadic Khampas favor precious metal and jewels as a store of wealth because they are easily transported.
These costumes will be worth on average several hundreds of thouands of US dollars, and at least $10,000, and it is not uncommon for costumes to be worth many millions of dollars, depending on the quality and antiquity of the gemstones and ornaments. Ornaments are made from gold, silver, coral, amber, turquoise and jade. The costumes can weigh up to 20 kg (44lb) , much of that weight coming from the gold and silver amulet boxes worn in front and behind and on the head.
These costumes are worn only on the most ceremoneous occasions, and on annual festivals such as at the Litang Horse Festival, where these photos were taken.
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