Glossary: Hats of the Himalayas (Religious)

HAR Main Glossary | Hats of the Himalayas (Styles) | Religious Hat Outline Page

Hats of the Himalayas - Four Principal Hat Styles:
- Pandita Style
- Lotus Style
- Fan-like Style
- Cap Style

Other Hat Styles:
- Religious Traditions
- Miscellaneous Hats



Glossary

- Bhutan Crown (Raven, Crow): Since the 19th century the King of the country of Bhutan adopted the raven form for the top of the state crown. The raven is related to Chaturbhuja Mahakala the most important protector of the Drugpa Kagyu Tradition. The Lingtsang Gyalpo uses a crown with a peacock on the top. The Sakyas also use a raven hat for certain types of Mahakala rituals.

- Black Hats: there were a number of famous Tibetan teachers that wore black hats. Some hats were court regalia of the Mongolian or Chinese imperial governments, others hats were modifications made to lotus style hats.

- Black Hat Ceremony: a religious ritual in the Karma Kagyu Tradition based on the deity Lokeshvara and the person of the Gyalwa Karmapa for the public presentation of the famous Black Hat, a gift of the Yongle Emperor. Similar hat rituals are performed by other incarnate lineage teachers of the Karma Kagyu Tradition.

- Black Hat Karmapa: the first five Karmapas are believed to have worn a small black cap. This is also attested to in early art depicting the 2nd through 5th Karmapas. The 5th Karmapa also received an ornate black hat from the Yongle Emperor of China. This new hat was described as adorned on the front with a double vajra sceptre, white clouds on the sides and a large red ruby at the top. After the 5th Karmapa there were at least one or two other black hats received as gifts by subsequent Karmapa incarnations. The gift from the Yongle Emperor became the basis for the Black Hat Ceremony.

- Black Hat, Tai Situpa: two of the early Tai Situs wore a black hat. Both were gifts of the Chinese emperor.

- Black Hat Dance: (See the Dance Outline Page).

- Bon Religious Hats: there is a great deal of variety when it comes to Bon religious hats. Some are intended for the clergy only and others can be worn by any serious ritualist.

- Bodong Tradition Hats: the typical early Bodong hats were the same as the red pandita hat used by Sakya and other neighbouring monasteries such as Jonang, Shalu and Gyantse.

- Broad Brimmed Hats (yellow, sometimes red): found only in early paintings from the 11th to 13th century, these hats looked very much like modern North-American cowboy hats, or straws hats worn in the American south. (See an example in HAR #88536 where three laymen are attired).

- Brim: the boarder or edge of a hat.

- Cap Style Hats: the 4th type of the principal types of Hats in Himalayan Art. The fourth style is the Cap-like hat, and just as caps in the West are generally small and just cover the top of the head, so it is with the Tibetan cap style of hat. The small size and general lack of excessive ornamentation or side flaps are the main characteristics. Caps are the principal head attire of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The most famous cap is the black hat worn by the Karmapa line of teachers. From the time of the 5th Karmapa there were two styles of black hat: a simple traditional hat and and also a very ornate black hat. Other caps of the Karma Kagyu are the red hat of the Shamarpa, followed by the red, orange, and green speckled hats of other ranking teachers. Caps are also worn by Other Kagyu traditions, as do the Nyingma, Sakya and Jonang Traditions, but to a much lesser degree than in the Karma Kagyu tradition.

- Changkya Rolpai Dorje Hats: there is no one style of hat worn by Changkya. He is depicted in both the standard Gelug yellow pandita hat as well as the fan-like hat of the 1st Panchen Lama Chokyi Gyaltsen.

- Cho/severance Tradition Hats: a relatively flat cap style hat with an attached eye covering on the front. Sometimes the hat is adorned with auspicious symbols and ornamentation.

- Dance Hats: (See the Dance Outline Page).

- Eye Coverings: or Eye Protection (Tibetan: mig ra, mig dra. English: eye net). There are three or more types of eye coverings used in the Himalayas and Tibet. Two of the types are functional and common for all and the third is a type of eye covering used in meditation practice. A fourth type, possibly the same as the third, is used in the Chod practices of Machig Labdron.

- Fan-like Hats: this is a descriptive name for the Gampopa hat which is the special hat of the Dagpo Kagyu traditions which include the Drugpa (Upper, Middle and Lower), Taglung, Drigung and depending on the occasion the Karma Kagyu. The third style is the Fan-like hat popularized by Gampopa Sonam Rinchen. The hat is tall and very broad like a fan with wide lappets hanging down on the sides extending to the shoulders or even lower. Quite often the lappets on the sides are folded upward creating an even more fan-like appearance to the hat. The hats are almost always red in colour when depicted in painting. In real life the hats are often created from silk brocades generally gold in colour and patterned with decorative plants and birds. This style of hat is the principal head attire for most of the Kagyu traditions (except for the Karma Kagyu). Fan-like hats are not generally found with any of the other Buddhist traditions and remain unique to the Dagpo Kagyu traditions descending from Gampopa and his students.

- Feathered Hats: in Tibetan Buddhism the feathered hat refers to any hat, usually a lotus hat, that is decorated at the top with one or more feathers. It is said that Padmasambhava's hat has one feather but Godemchen's hat had three feathers.

- Fur Felt Hats: the Taranata incarnation line of Mongolia among others living above and below the Gobi are known for wearing Fur Felt Hats.

- Gampopa Hat: the fan-like hat is a descriptive name for the Gampopa hat which is the special hat of the Dagpo Kagyu traditions which include the Drugpa (Upper, Middle and Lower), Taglung, Drigung and depending on the occasion the Karma Kagyu.

- Gelug Hats: typically the yellow coloured pandita hat is the attire of choice. The 1st Panchen Lama Chokyi Gyaltsen introduced a flat fronted fan-like hat, also yellow in colour, not to much different from that of the Gampopa style hat. This new hat was popular with Purbu Chog Ngagwang Champa (1682-1762), Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717-1786), Gyalse Kalzang Tubten Jigme (1743-1811) along with varios Taranata incarnations of Mongolia.

- Gesar Battle Helmet: The battle helmet of Ling Gesar is one of the standard characteristic features in Gesar iconography, however it is not well explained in the ritual literature and must be understood from studying the known paintings - as many as possible. Of the two principal forms of Gesar commonly represented in art, Norbu Dradul and Dorje Tsegyal, the helmet is a standard characteristic of Norbu Dradul - Gesar in the appearance of a warrior, a Tibetan Drala god. With the iconography of Gesar paintings the helmet follows the typical artistic convention of any helmet of a Tibetan warrior, a Drala god. There are three basic components or elements to the helmet. The first (1) is the round shape, the second (2) is the flag decorations and the third (3) is a Victory Banner at the peak.

- Gesar Dorje Tsegyal Hat: a tall white hat with a broad round brim, decorated on top with ribbons, an ornament and feathers, or alternately three jewels or a mirror.

- Gesar Drama & Song Performance Hats: in East Tibet there are a number of different traditions depending on region that claim to have special hats used in the recitation and performance of the Ling Gesar songs and stories.

- Green Speckled Hat: the Nenang Pawo of the Karma Kagyu tradition is said to have worn a green speckled hat as part of the incarnation lineage tradition.

- Horned Kyung Crown: the early kings of Zhangzhung are said to have worn kyung horn crowns. In all there were eighteen kings of Zhangzhung.

- Initiation Crown: a five leaf folding crown depicting either the Five Symbolic Buddhas or the emblems of the Buddhas on the facing leaf. These crowns are worn during certain types of Tantric initiation ceremonies.

- Jonang Hats: the typical early Jonang hats were the same as the red pandita hat used by Sakya and other neighbouring monasteries such as Bodong, Shalu and Gyantse.

- Kagyu Hats (Dagpo): the special hat of the Dagpo Kagyu tradition is the Gampopa Hat which is the same as the Fan-like Style Hat.

- Katog Tradition Hats (Nyingma): a combination of both lotus style hats and pandita hats are worn.

- Karma Kagyu Hats (Kamtsang): a variety of unique hats are employed and used by various incarnation lineages, namely the Black Hat Karmapas, the Red Hat Karmapas (Shamar), the orange or red hat Gyaltsab and Tai Situpas, and the green speckled hat of the Nenang Pawo. The Karma Tinleypa and the Trehor Tulku should have their own unique hats. The Karma Kagyu also wear the fan-like Gampopa Hat and the red pandita hat.

- Lappets: the long strips of cloth that descend below the cap of a pandita hat. They generally fall across the shoulders. Sometimes they are pinned behind the back and in the Sakya tradition they can be thrown over the crown of the head and then pinned together. In the Sakya tradition the lappets are considered a nuisance when a teacher is conducting an initiation ceremony.

- Lingtsang Crown: a cloth cap topped with a peacock head and upper torso similar in appearance to the raven crown of Bhutan.

- Lotus Hats: The second style is the Lotus hat made famous and modelled after the hat of Padmasambhava, one of the three popularly credited founders of Buddhism in Tibet. This hat is similar to the pandita hat in basic shape but without the lappets. The sides are folded up. It is multi-coloured and ornate with ribbons and a half vajra ornament at the top. Some hats also have a bird feather above the vajra. This is the principal hat of the Nyingma tradition and can be worn by either monks or lay teachers. There are many varieties of Lotus hat, some small and some very large with greater or lesser ornamentation depending on the particular Nyingma tradition. The Payul branch of Nyingma has a unique Lotus hat identified by long lappets that hang down over the shoulders.

- Mindrolling Tradition Hats (Nyingma):

- Monk's Hats:

- Nun's Hats:

- Nyingma Hats:

- Oracle Helmet/Crown/Hat:

- Panchen Lama Hat:

- Pandita Hat: The most common style of hat and also the earliest is believed to have originated in India and is the Pandita hat. The hat is round in shape and tapers upward to either a small or steep point. It covers the ears at the sides with long lappets which hang down over the shoulders. The hat is common to all of the various Buddhist traditions and schools. Generally it is only worn by monks and signifies an advanced level of education. This hat is the principle head covering of the Sakya, Shangpa, Jonang and Gelug traditions. For all traditions the hat is typically red. In recent centuries the Sakya tradition has adopted the convention of folding the lappets upward and folding them over the crown of the hat creating a triangular banded appearance at the front of the hat. The Gelug tradition uses a yellow coloured Pandita hat borrowed from the preferred style of Shalu monastery.

- Payul Tradition Hats (Nyingma): Rigdin Kunzang Sherab (1636-1698) the founder of Payul Monastery in 1665 wore a lotus hat with unusually long lappets. Otherwise the Payul tradition employed the lotus hat and the pandita hat.

- Peacock Crown (Lingtsang): a cloth cap topped with a peacock head and upper torso similar in appearance to the raven crown of Bhutan.

- Rechungpa Hat:

- Red Hat Shamarpa (Outline Page):

- Raven Hats:

- Red Hats:

- Riding Hats: Example 1: a papier mache, copper coloured, round hat with a broad round brim used exclusively by monks while seated atop a horse.

- Sakya Hats:

- Shalu Monastery Tradition Hats: the typical early Shalu hats were the same as the red pandita hat used by Sakya and other neighbouring monasteries such as Bodong, Jonang and Gyantse.

- Severance/Cho Tradition Hats: a relatively flat cap style hat with an attached eye covering on the front. Sometimes the hat is adorned with auspicious symbols and ornamentation.

- Shangpa Kagyu Tradition Hats: the typical Shangpa hats were the same as the red pandita hat used by Sakya and other neighbouring monasteries such as Bodong, Shalu and Gyantse.

- Shechen Tradition Hats (Nyingma):

- Taranata Hat: he is typically depicted with a red or orange pandita hat.

- Tiger Skin Hat: Example 1: Lishu Tagring

- Tsatsa Drubgon, White Hat: In East Tibet there is a Kagyu incarnation line known as the Tsatsa Drubgon. He wears a white hat identical to the Karmapa black hat. This white hat according to the Tibetan biography of Tsatsa Rinpoche is said to have come about as a gift of the 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje. In his vision Karmapa saw that Tsatsa Rinpoche had four great characteristics: outer, inner, secret and very secret. The outer characteristic is that Karmapa saw Tsatsa as being very white, of a pure white colour - like the appearance of the goddess of wisdom and learning, Sarasvati.

- Turban: The early religious kings and ministers of Tibet are depicted in later painting and sculpture with white turbans. (See Tibetan Kings).

- Vajracharya Helmet: a helmet-like crown worn by Newar and Shakya Tantric ritualists of the Kathmandu Valley while conducting services on holy days, astrologically auspicious days or at the request of devotees.

- Vulture Feather Adorned Hats: The vulture feather decoration at the peak of a lotus hat appears to have originated with the iconography of Padmasambhava sometime during or after the lifetime of Nyangral Nyima Ozer. A lotus hat can be adorned by one or three vulture feathers, a half vajra scepter, or left unadorned.

- White Hats (Bon Religion):

- Wool Felt Hat:

- Yellow Hats: a reference to the yellow coloured pandita hat as well as a reference to the greater Gelug Tradition founded by Je Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (1357-1419).

- Zanabazar Hats: the Mongolian teacher Yeshe Dorje, known widely by the Mongolian pronunciation of his name, is commonly depicted in the standard yellow pandita hat of the Gelugpa and the fan-like hat of the 1st Panchen Lama.



Jeff Watt 8-2014