A stiff 3-hour walk up the hill from Khoma (1000m higher) brought us to Goenpaka, where the standard of kushutara weaving is even higher. Here the weavers’ skills are so highly valued that they are completely spared from working in the fields, and can weave throughout the day and into the evening.
Not only was the work more finely finished here, but some more traditional elements of design were usually retained. For example, most of the kiras I was shown in Goenpaka had a japang (or japgang) at each end. Japang simply means “bottom” and on the kira it is a panel where the stripes run weft-wise instead of warpwise as on the main part of the kira. When wrapped on the woman’s body, one of these end-panels ends up on the outside at the back, over her bottom.
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See this gorgeous kira being worn by the newly-crowned Bhutanese Queen on her visit to India at Jetsun Pema’s kira looks familiar…