National Geographic : 1965 Oct
often afflicts Tibetans who journey to lower, warmer lands. I gave him a common stomach remedy and momentarily forgot his case. The old king, I learned, had been out of his own land as far as India to visit the great Buddhist shrines. He had brought back the pair of horn-rimmed spectacles that struck the only oddly modern note of his attire. From the king, and later research, I learned that Mustang was founded in the 1380's by Ama Pal, a fierce soldier who had conquered the 20 great fortresses whose mighty ruins overlook the present villages of Mustang. Angun Tenzing Trandul claims to be the 23d king in line since Ama Pal, and he is one of the last remaining kings of a pure Tibetan culture. In Tibet itself the ancient small king doms were long ago united under the rule of the god-king, the Dalai Lama, who now lives in exile in India. When China overran Tibet, Mustang was spared because a 160-year-old agreement made the King of Mustang a loose tribu tary to the Hindu Gurkha kings of Nepal. According to this old treaty, Mustang still pays to the Nepalese authorities each year 886 Nepalese rupees ($120) and one horse. In re turn the King of Mustang, who also holds the honorary title of Colonel of the Nepalese Army, is allowed to administer his kingdom. Western Clothing Fascinates Mustangese Shortly after I settled in Lo Mantang, an old woman came up to me and pinched my arm. When I turned, I found that she and a small crowd of women were trying to learn what my clothes were made of. I soon realized that these Lo-bas were unfamiliar with the smallest of Western technological inventions. The only manufactured goods that reach Mustang are the rich gold and silk brocades imported from China across Tibet by yak caravans. These brocades furnish the monks and the rich nobles with elaborate shirts that are worn on festive occasions beneath their rough woolen sheepskin-lined cloaks. All other material for clothes is woven from the wool of the many goats that roam the high 593 KODACHROMESBY MICHEL PEISSEL © N.G.S .