Tibetan Horsehair Sunglasses

Ophthalmia is one of the commonest diseases in Tibet.  When so affected the sufferer either wears Chinese smoked glasses or eye shades (migra) of horsehair.  These eye shades consist in a band of closely woven horse-hair about 2.5 inches broad.  The ends are sewn into bits of embroidered flannel.  Some of these shades are convex over the eyes, but I believe that these are not made in Tibet, but on the Kan-su frontier, by Chinese.  The eye shades are carried suspended by the girdle in a cylindrical cotton case, which can be pulled out of a cotton case of similar material, but usually handsomely embroidered, which slides over it.

William Rockhill, Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet, 1895

eye shades

Plate 30 in William Rockhill’s Notes on the ethnology of Tibet, depicting horsehair eye shade and case from Eastern Tibet at the top and Chinese eye shade and case at the bottom.