People often confuse yak hair with yak wool. The first has the consistency of horsehair and is most present in the tail or in the characteristic long hairs that skirt the animal’s abdomen. The wool is the fine down that lies beneath the hair, all over the young yak’s body and in specific areas on the adult. It molts in late spring and is what Norden’s sister company, Norlha, uses for making its shawls, blankets and felts.
Yak hair is a tradition of its own, and was primarily used for making the nomad’s characteristic dark brown tents, ropes, monastery awnings and door curtains. It is hand woven in narrow strips from a back strap loom, into a very dense, heavy, rough and long lasting fabric.
Norden’s founder and owner, Yidam Kyap, when designing the Norden tents, modified the original nomad tent design to a more spacious, high ceiling form, adding canvas awnings and windows to the yak hair panels.
by Kim Yeshi