Life around Norlha

Fall on the grassland slowly brings in an overhaul in mood and color, the endless prairie turning from an exuberant and overwhelming green to a gradual and final yellow. In plain sight, it may look like a palette of light gold against the intense blue of the sky but the subtleties are many. Fall is the time when nature pours out its final gifts; a time when man and animals can harvest the best from crops or plants, when insects get the final boon before disappearing in the face of winter.

A walk on the grassland reveals a rich micro fauna; miniature gardens gathered around small mounds that change with the seasons, and have their finale in rich rusts and reds. Rock fungi turn a bright orange, bushes going into various shades of pink and magenta or and bushes yield red berry that the children scramble to gather. Every year, fall brings us new inspiration; color, feel and texture to share from the Plateau to the world.

Color tends to catch our eye and excite our brain, causing us to overlook the beauty of grey. Grey is rich and varied, noisy but also calming. On the Plateau, grey is everywhere, seconding the intensity of the brighter hues. It is found in the clouds and the lakes that reflect them, in the boulders strewn across the pasture, in the high rocky peaks. There are grey yaks, grey horses, grey wolves. There are buildings built of grey stone, roofs laid in grey clay or slate. Mantras are carved on grey stone, courtyards are paved in grey flagstones.

At Norlha, grey is one of the natural shades of yak khullu. It has an eternal quality; one never tires of grey.

In nature, red is the color of life, that of poppies, of fire, of chili, berries and watermelons.

Transposed into culture, it is the color of spirituality, dominant in monasteries, in monk’s garb, of prayer flags, wall paintings and pillar ornaments. We love red at Norlha, with its spirit of openness, of warmth, of drama and spirituality. In summer it flutters with the prayer flags, in winter it fills us with balminess.

As part of our project to have Norlha interpreted by photographers worldwide, we can see our red accordion scarf through the eye of photographer Surzhana Radnaeva, shot in Norway.

Blue is the Plateau’s all season color, ever present in a multitude of shades in the sky, water and the flora of the Plateau. Blue is in the changing hues of lakes that take their cue from the sky turning from intense turquoise to a steely grey. It is found in the swiftness of rivers, and the extreme blue of the winter sky, that stands out against the monochrome expanse of pasture.

Norlha has interpreted blue from its most subtle shades, found in the delicate hues of changing sky and water, to the intensity of its cloudless winter sky and transferred it into our scarves and shawls. Woven from the finest yak khullu, they hold the essence of the Tibetan Plateau.

Pink falls short of the unsaid rule about the use of primary colors in Tibetan religious art. It may find its way in the very delicate shades of lotuses that surround deities, without venturing into much further. In nature, by contrast, pink abounds; every shade in its spectrum is vividly present in the wild flowers, and the sunsets. It is a color that conveys light heartedness, and very popular with little girls. Amdo monks have adopted it most vivid shade in their zens, a unique tradition.

We love pink at Norlha and use its every shade to reflect the world around us, especially the world of summer.