Sock Shoes Mittens
More on Lahouli and Ladakhi shoes, socks and mittens
Beside socks some other knitwear must have been done in knitting schools too, but it’s not clear what. In her diaries Maria Heyde does write about a kind of shoes that are made in knitting class.
She calls them Bula (or A Bula). They were braided from straw (or flax?) and were worn by both man and women. First the girls had to wet the straw and beat it till it became soft enough to handle. Then shoes were braided from it. These shoes were great to wear on the slippery, Rocky and icy soil of the Himalayas. But they didn’t last long – for a days walk one had to take an extra pair. Luckily they were very easy to make: well trained hands could make 16 till 20 pairs a day.
Maybe these Bula are about the same as Pullan?
Pullans and Bulas
In the book Textiles, costumes and ornaments of the Western Himalaya by Omacanda C. Handa there is some information about Pullans or Zomba sockshoes. They may be about the same as the Bula that Maria Heyde writes about. Only in this book it says they are knitted from hemp rope. According to Maria Bula’s were braided from straw. Also Pullans seem to bee a common mens shoe, while Bula’s were for men and woman.
Pullans have variations for outdoor and indoor use. These may have let to the more slipper like Zomba or Dzomba (see pattern link). In every locality Pullans and Zomba’s have a distinct design. The sole is made of well twisted hemp rope. Upon that a upper part is embroidered an inlayed with colorfull woolen yarn. Pullans from the Pangwals of Chamba have an extra sole of goatskin.
Lahuli gloves and socks
Omacanda Handa also tells a bit about the gloves and socks of Lahul. It doesn’t say they are influenced by the (Moravian) knitting schools, but knowing that story, they probably are. The basic color that is used for socks and gloves are grey, brown, black and white. Multicolored patterns are knitted in, in a large variety. The knitters still knit them to be sold in shops for tourists and visitors.
More about Himalayan textiles you can read in this book:
“Textiles, costumes and ornaments of the Western Himalaya” by Omacanda C. Handa.
Indus Publishing, 1998 - 312 pagina's.
"In The Present Study, An Attempt Has Been To Present A Kaleidoscopic View Of The Whole Ethno-Cultural Scenario Of The Western Himalayan Region Through The Traditional Textiles, Costumes And Ornaments Of The People."