Ladakh

Ladakhi Spirit Dolls

Here are some of the Ladakhi inspired Spirit Sister dolls that have birthed this year - the dolls above and below were 2 of the first I ever made. The one above in the black box came to assist a dear brother who was guiding his father as he crossed the threshold after a long journey with cancer. The doll below came to assist a young maiden with her menarche. They came within days of each other and I see now they are Blood Mysteries dolls - part of the same circle of life, death and rebirth.  I wonder if the Ladakhi have a tradition of dolls as healing vessels? 

Spirit Sisters - Women of the Ladakhi by Jimmy Nelson

Ladakhi woman
Before They are Pass Away - Jimmy Nelson

There are a tribe of Spirit Sister medicine dolls that birthed this year that have been very ancient and beautiful and I have often asked them 'where are you from?' Recently I saw the amazing photographs of Jimmy Nelson in his book Before They Pass Away and found the lineage of these particular dolls. I understand now they are Ladakhi and I can't wait to learn and understand more about these adorned and mysterious medicine women. 
"Ladakh (meaning ‘land of the passes’) is a cold desert in the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is divided into the mainly Muslim Kargil district and the primarily Buddhist Leh district. The people of Ladakh have a rich folklore, some of which date back to the pre- Buddhist era." Jimmy Nelson

"Festivals and celebrations are unmissable opportunities for the Ladakh to
display goncha, the traditional dress. Typical costumes include gonchas of
velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots and hats. Well-to-do
Ladakhi women have a striking and opulent appearance." Jimmy Nel
son