Photo Documentary – The sheep shearers of Qinghai Lake

Before the end of the summer in late June 2012, around 10 days, it is sheep shearing time for the Tibetan people in Qinghai Province, China.

The whole family is expected to work together, including the kids.

Typically each adult sheep is shorn once each year.

Blade shears (the scissors) leave some wool on a sheep and this is more suitable for cold climates where the sheep needs some protection from the elements.

If the Tibetan shepherds let the sheep moult naturally, the wool will be wasted, and leaves the sheep open to diseases.

Tibetan todlers wait for their parents to finish their hard day’s job

Tibetan Sheep wool

The sheep are native to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and lives at area of cold mountains with altitude height of 3000~5000 meters. The quality trait of the wool is subwhite, full of gloss, equal and very long fiber, high compactness, high elasticity and big pull. Its average length is 11cm above, average fineness is 27~40 microns, and the content of native sheep down hair is around 50%. It comes mainly from Qinghai and Tibet, and is the best raw material for rug producing. Tibet is the major producing area for Tibetan sheep wool with annual productivity 8000 tons. The Tibetan rug weaved from Tibetan sheep wool has the characteristics of resistance to abrasion, soft texture, and broche gloss.

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