Traditional Tibetan stoves are made from mud and bricks. They sit in the middle of the tent. Flaps in the tent above the stove can be opened for ventilation. These type of stoves are becoming more difficult to find as more nomads are choosing to use stoves made from metal. Mud-brick stoves are not difficult to make. They generally take less than a day to build. Besides making minor repairs, the stoves should last for 5 to 7 years before having to be rebuilt. Since most of Tibet is treeless, especially the interior of Tibet, dried yak dung is the only fuel that is used. Collecting yak dung is a very important chore.
Stoves are kept burning nearly all day. Water, along with milk tea or butter tea, are always on the stove. All meals are cooked on these stoves. Winters are extremely cold in most of Tibet so the stoves serve as the only means of heating the tent. Traditional mud-brick stoves are not portable. So when a nomad family prepares to move to a new pasture, the stove is left behind. Nomads usually rotate between 2 and 4 pastures each year and each pasture will have a mud-brick stove. During the morning and evenings families will gather around the stove to talk about the days coming or passing events (pictures above).
Traditional mud-brick stoves are not easy to find anymore. Modern metal stoves can be easily packed on the back of yaks and moved. Metal stoves are also reasonably priced. This last picture is of a small modern stove inside a nomad tent.
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