National Geographic : 1955 Jul
15 © Kodachromes by Heinrich Harrer A Cabinet Minister's Wife Parades Her Rank in a Halo of Shimmering Jewels "A person's beauty lies in clothes, the tree's in its leaves," asserts a Tibetan folk saying. In this secluded land a wealthy woman spends hours making her toilet. She dotes on cosmetics, preferring American brands. The mother of the laughing bridegroom (page 5), Ragashar Lhacham Kusho wears the headdress of Shigatse and Gyangtse, principal cities of Tsang Province. A light yoke of cloth-covered bamboo arches high above her head, supporting an array of seed pearls from Japan, Persian turquoise, Prussian amber, and plump coral stones from Italy. Hair dangles in twin ropes above her gold-brocade dress. Below the throat she wears a colorful charm box-indispensable protection against devils, ill health, or sudden death. Talismans inside the jeweled locket may include images of deities or the writings of a Dalai Lama. "A woman has no voice in Tibet's public affairs," Mr. Harrer says, "but jewels denote her husband's rank in the Gov ernment hierarchy. A cabinet minister's wife may display gems worth $20,000."