Ladakh is the northernmost state of the India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south and is inhabited by peopleIndo-Aryan and Tibetan decent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regionsJammu and Kashmir. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It is sometimes called "Little Tibet" as it has been strongly influencedby Tibetan culture.
In the 13th century a Buddhist sect of « yellow hats » settled in Ladakh and created ceremonial headdresses and ornaments that have been preserved due to the community’s relative isolation.
The set of jewelry (tiara and necklaces as well as other ornaments) worn by the Lama Buddhist monks are unique and richly decorated with semi-precious stones such as turquoise, cornelian, and coral, which cannot be found in these regions but are brought by the Newaris merchants from the valley of Katmandu.
The Perak, a felt headdress originally worn by the women from Ladakh, is composed of a strap of leather and felt studded with semi-preciouse stones. The Perak reflects the rank and economic status of the woman wearing it. Traditionally, the number of front-to-back rows of turquoise signified the status of the wearer: nine rows for the queen of Leh, the Ladakh capital, seven rows for the more modern aristocracy, five for the marvels and three for the lower ranks.
The semi-precious stones are representative of the Ladakh deities, protecting and guiding the wearer through the dangerous human world. Turquoise is important also in that it can be used as a trade item.
1. Bonnet 2. Chest Ornament 3. Crown
4. Wrist Ornaments 5. High Priest Chest Ornament 6. High Priest Crown