Tibetan Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project Collection
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Search this
4.4 Terabytes (4050 videos, 1301 photographs, born digital)
Digital moving image formats
Tibet, Plateau of
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:
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.
Shared Stewardship of Collections:
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage acknowledges and respects the right of artists, performers, Folklife Festival participants, community-based scholars, and knowledge-keepers to collaboratively steward representations of themselves and their intangible cultural heritage in media produced, curated, and distributed by the Center. Making this collection accessible to the public is an ongoing process grounded in the Center's commitment to connecting living people and cultures to the materials this collection represents. To view the Center's full shared stewardship policy, which defines our protocols for addressing collections-related inquiries and concerns, please visit https://doi.org/10.25573/data.21771155.
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.
Access to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is by appointment only. Visit our website for more information on scheduling a visit or making a digitization request. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.