- Collection ID:
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
The documentation project contains two Tibetic languages:
; ISO-639-3-cng). The metadata is translated into English.
- Physical Description:
4050 videos, 1301 photographs
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project collection contains 4.4 terabytes of born digital video and photographic material collected by four teams in four traditionally Tibetan counties in three provinces in Western China.
The materials document traditional nomadic life: herding, gender roles, the making of household items like baskets and textiles, clothing, games, foodways, religious events and celebrations, traditional tools, and the history, social life, and struggles of each community as expressed through interviews with community members.
The files in this collection are arranged in chronological order within four series, named for the four fieldworkers or fieldworker teams and containing their respective video and photographic documentation. The four series are as follows: (1) Lhamo Drolma, (2) Puhua, (3) rGyalthar and Nathaniel Sims, and (4) Wuqi.
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project holds documentation from five different culturally nomadic communities in Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan Provinces, China. Starting in 2016, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage contracted local researchers, filmmakers, community members, and scholars to document aspects of current nomadic life, including customs, tools, traditional knowledge, and ways of life.
All materials have been shared with the originating communities.
Khamokyi and Cecilia Peterson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in the Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project Collection were created in 2016 by local researchers, filmmakers, community members, and scholars Llamo Drolma, Nathaniel Sims, Puhua, rGyalthar, Tsehua, and Wuqi. Their work was supported by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. After the fieldworkers completed their projects, their documentation, associated metadata, and trip reports were acquired by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives in the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in 2017.
The Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Collection was processed by Khamokyi and Cecilia Peterson in 2017-2018. Upon recieving the files in 2017, Khamokyi and Cecilia reviewed metadata provided by fieldworkers and made it consistent. Khamokyi, a native speaker of Amdo Tibetan, reviewed all video materials and added detail to existing descriptions. Descriptions for video materials in the Rma language relied on extensive written documentation in English and Chinese submitted with the materials by the creators, rGyalthar and Nathaniel Sims. Keywords in English, Tibetan, and Chinese were derived from existing metadata as well as Khamokyi's review of the materials. Metadata was then embedded into every file's IPTC fields using Adobe Bridge. Embedded metadata is primarily in English, with some Tibetan and Chinese. Due to the high volume of photographs, out-of-focus or mistaken shots were removed from the collection when good alternatives were available. Multiple, nearly identical shots were also reduced to the best examples. Files were then renamed and are now digitally preserved in the Smithsonian's digital asset management system.
Curated materials from the Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project can be viewed through Lag Zo: Making on the Tibetan Plateau
, a trilingual online exhibition—in English, Chinese, and Tibetan—produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The exhibition draws in part from the vast archive of digital materials acquired by the Center through the community-driven research of the Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project and the Ethnic Tibetan Artisans in China Documentation Project.
Using the Collection
Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is born digital; access for research and educational purposes is available by request . Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information. Restrictions may apply concerning the use, duplication, or publication of items in these collections. Consult the archivists for additional information.
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
600 Maryland Ave SW