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Bhutan and its thirteen traditional crafts – the zorigchusum

Bhutan is a country residing under the Himalayas, preserving the ancient traditions and culture of its forefathers. It’s a tiny remote landscape of about 700 thousand people and is landlocked between India and China. Bhutan also known as the land of the Thunder Dragon attracts many tourists by its ancients Buddhist culture and breathtaking sceneries.

Bhutan has strictly avoided tourism and the intake of other cultures as it thrives hard in preserving its ancient tradition and culture. Although nowadays tourism has found a way into Bhutan to view ancient Buddhism at its own birthplace. An essential part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage is the thirteen traditional arts and crafts that have been practicedsince ancient times. These were formally categorized by the secular ruler Tenzin Rabgay, and they are as follows:

Thag-zo:

This would refer to the art of weaving some of the high priced textile in the world.

Tsha-zo:

It implies to the skill of weaving cane and bamboo products such as baskets, mats and containers.

Shag-zo:

This particular style of vibrant art made its fame out of its beautifully made wooden bowls. Now these bowls are made with the traditional wooden knots known as Zaa and are highly valued in the world.

Lha-zo:

This refers to those ancient paintings that had captured the imagery of the nourishing Bhutanese landscapes. Master painters of Bhutan are called the Lha Rips and you get to see their works on almost everything that’s ancient from architectural pieces to glorious temples and monasteries.

Shing-zo:

It means the art of carpentry; these people were revised in building big fortresses and monasteries. They were the perfectionist in carvings of the designs in wood.All the woodwork, beams, pillars, roof rafters and window frames were made on the ground and then set “ready-made” in the building.

Do-zo:

This is art in stone. Bhutan is filled with monasteries and temples made out of stones that date back to the 1600’s. Classic examples of stone work are those of Chorten Kora in Tashiyangtse in eastern Bhutan and Chendebji chorten in central Bhutan

Par-zo:

This distinctive form of traditional art refers to the carvings on stone wood and slate. And since Bhutan has a wide range of trees it apt that wood carvings here are quite famous for their sophisticated hand carvings.

 Jim-zo:

It’s the magnificent clay work of Bhutan. The gods and goddesses and other prominent religious figures of ancient history made out of clay showcases to humanity its unforgotten skills of the past in clay art.

Lug-zo:

This art was inherited in Bhutan only in the 17th century, the art of Bronze casting. Bronze was use in their art and crafts and also for many other purposes. Some products of Bhutan to its bronze casting would be as cups, urns, and vases and also People also shaped bronze into weapons and armor such as battle-axes, helmets, knives, swords and shields.

Gar-zo:

Now this is an art that is believed to be introduced by a saint. It is said he is a master engineer and the founder for this skill of in casting iron chains and erecting them as bridges. Simply it’s the art of casting of iron.

Troe-ko:

Visitors to Bhutan are often attracted towards their ornaments as their crafted with metals such as corals, turquoise, silver and gold. A master craftsman skilled in shaping beautiful ornaments is regarded as Tro Ko Lopen.

 De-zo:

It refers to type of paper that is created out of the bark of the daphne tree which was widely used in the past. It is also said that most religious scripts were written in special inks or even gold in these very Dezho.

Tshem-zo:

This a complex art that can be subdivided into thre artifacts,

           Tshemdrup   –   art of embroidery

           lhemdrup      -   art of appliqué

           Tsholham     –   art of traditional Bhutanese boot making

The art of embroidery and applique were followed by the monks in making scrolls known as the thangkas for the gods and saints.The art of traditional Bhutanese boot making is craftsmanship in sewing the traditional Bhutanese garments known as Gho and Kira in making simple boots from uncured leather.

On an overall the ancient culture and tradition is what one shouldn’t miss while dropping in at Bhutan.

 

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Excellent, very well summarized! I’d like to visit Buthan. You should add it’s the country that coined the Gross National Happiness concept. It’s inspirational not to only care about measuring the size of the country’s economy or money but happiness and sustainability development! Again, nice post and nice blog.

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