What are they

In Nepal and Tibet, especially in the high mountains of the Himalayas, farmers stored milk and butter in wooden jars called yak butter pots or jars. Wooden jars with a raised rim, a relatively small opening and a lid, were ideal for storing yak milk or butter. In addition, the jars were used for collecting milk during yak milking or for churning butter.

yak butter pot collection

Different kinds of pots

There are many different types and sizes of yak butter jars. There are small ones, which farmers could easily take with them, and large ones, which were used more as stock pots. But the smaller pots were also sometimes used for goat milk and for storing yak butter.

They come in different shapes, including oblong and narrow, or wide and round.

yak butter pot brown

Brown yak butter pot with lid

yak butter pot long

Tall yak butter pot

yak butter pot neck

Yak butter pot with the distinctive ‘neck’

yak butter pot handles

Yak butter pot with small handles

Most jars of yak butter are light brown in color. Some are darker brown to black. A few jars are white. If the jars have a lid, it is often lids that are loose on them. On the outside, you can sometimes notice decorative lines or ridges on the jars.

yak butter pot black

A dark brown / black yak butter pot

yak butter pot small

A small dark yak butter pot with some red paint

yak butter pot ridge

Small yak butter pot with a ridge


Yak butter

Yak butter (also called “dri butter”) is butter made using the milk of yaks. Yaks are domesticated wild oxen that live at high altitudes in the Himalayan region.

Yak Himalaya credits Alexandr Frolov

A yak in the Himalaya

Yak butter is also used to make the traditional drink yak butter tea (also called Tibetan butter tea, Boe jha, cha süma, goor goor cha, cha suskan). This is done by adding yak butter, salt and water to the tea. They usually use pu’erh tea for this purpose. Especially in Tibet, many people consume this drink several times a day. It helps to stay warm and hydrated at high altitudes. Furthermore, yak butter is also used in various meals.

yak butter tea

Yak butter tea with a meal



Yak butter pots used to be made of hardwood. Sometimes they broke or cracked. One could repair them with metal pins. Nowadays, yak butter pots are made of metal or ceramic. As a result, wooden yak butter pots fell out of use. These old wooden pots are highly valued in the West as home decorations, and that is why the pots that have been preserved are now often bought up by merchants.

Yak butter pots look great in rustic interiors. They are popular among interior stylists and you find them regularly in magazines. You can display them on their own or use them as a vase for dried flowers or branches.

interior with yak butter pots

Yak butter pots as interior decoration

Rootz Gallery collection

We have a large collection of yak butter pots. On these photos you can see only a small part of our extensive collection. If you are looking for a specific kind of pot (height, form, color), please let us know and we’ll search for it in our collection! You can send us a message at +31 6 55834611 (Whatsapp/call) or email us at

yak butter pot collection Rootz Gallery

Just a small part of Rootz Gallery’s extensive collection of yak butter pots.


yak butter pot collection

You can find them all over Rootz Gallery.