The Nomad Material Culture Documentation Project holds documentation from five different culturally nomadic communities in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, China. Starting in 2016, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage contracted local researchers, filmmakers, community members, and scholars to document aspects of current nomadic life, including customs, tools, traditional knowledge, and ways of life.
The Artisan Documentation Project was carried out by researcher and filmmaker Dawa Drolma. From 2017 to 2018, Dawa documented eleven traditional Tibetan craft forms in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, including black pottery, carpet weaving, thangka painting, mani stone carving, bronze making, boot making, and more. The resulting documentation was edited to provide educational and promotional materials for the artisans to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of their work.
The documentation projects reflect three different Tibetic languages: Amdo, Kham, and Rma. The Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections houses both collections with metadata translated into English. All materials have been shared with the originating communities.
Curators: James Deutsch, Khamo
Writers: Maya Potter, Sharmo Thar, Namgyal Tsepak
Translators: Shirly Chang, Khamo, Lucy Xioachuan Liu, Shamo Thar, Namgyal Tsepak
Photographers and Videographers: Dawa Drolma, Lhamo Drolma, Puhua, Rgyalthar, Nathaniel Sims, Tsehua, Wuqi
Video Producers and Editors: Dawa Drolma, Jackson Harvey, Wendekar
Web Designers: Toby Dodds, Sandy Wang
Digital Asset Managers: Khamo, Cecilia Peterson
Copy Editor: Elisa Hough
Project Coordinators: Halle Butvin, Anne Pedersen