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100% YAK WOOL and Natural Blends
Pasture of Tibetan Yaks near Lhasa, Tibet (Xizang, China)
Photography © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co. (/from the bus window)
Yaks' habitat is the Himalayas (Nepal), China, and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. They are well adapted to the harsh mountains with their thick coats, great lung capacity, and ability to move skillfully over rough terrain. Yaks can easily tolerate temperatures of -40C. Even their blood cells are designed for high elevations.
There are both wild and domestic yaks. The Yak has been domesticated to plough fields and pull loads, because it is a sure-footed climber (at a weight of 2000 lbs!). When traveling on snow in single file, they carefully step on footprints left by the lead yak. Yaks are also used for their milk, fiber, and meat. Yak milk can be processed into cheese and butter. Yak butter is also one of the ingredients in Butter Tea, which is traditionally made from tea leaves, yak butter, water, and non-iodized salt. Yak butter is also used in lamps. Photo Gallery: Yak Herders of Ladakh, India » on ArcticPhoto.com © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography / ArcticPhoto
The yak fiber is very fine in diameter (between 15 and 17 mm) that place it in the same class of the luxury guanaco, vicuña and qiviut. Each yak produces about 100 g of down fibre per year. The yak fiber comes in a few natural colours: white (the most valuable), fawn, dark grey, and dark brown. The yak down hair is harvested by combing or pulling the fibres during the spring moulting period. Yak fiber is spun and woven into various, very soft and ultra warm fiber products.
China (Qinhai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces) is the major producer of the commercialised down hair.
Taming Tibet, Wild Fibers Magazine Winter 2010 » " In terms of fiber, these endearing shaggy creatures that easily weight several hundred pounds produce roughly one pound of wooly undercoat a year called yak-kulu, meaning yak cashmere. In fact, when it is carefully processed it can be worn next to the skin. With growing concern about the environmental impact of cashmere goats, fashion designers are now looking to hit the catwalk with yak wool couture instead…"
FYI: "Hardy, stubborn, frisky, and apparently clumsy though deceptively agile on precipitous rugged terrain, this 'grunting ox' comes in many shapes and sizes: the male of the species is known as the yak, and the female as the dri. - Reference: Yak, The Highland cattle of Tibet »
From our experience: Notwithstanding the aggressive nature of the yak itself, yak fiber and yarn are one of the softest on the planet. Also, yaks are great singers and love to make frequent, very vocal grunts!
Tibetan Yak takes a rest after serving tourists, Tibet (Xizang, China).
Photography © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co.
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