Bhutanese art was mainly influenced by
Tibetan for the centuries and developed own art forms and themes. Bhutanese art
is characterized by; anonymity, religiosity and no aesthetic function by
itself. The statues and intricate paintings have religious themes unlike the
western modern paintings. These statues and painting once commissioned should
always be consecrated as per religious aspect.
Bhutanese art is
very unique and affiliated with the religion. Traditional arts and crafts are
an important cultural heritage which has been practiced from time immemorial.
Traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts are categorized into thirteen, since 17th
century during the reign of Gyelse Tenzin Rabgay, the temporal ruler of Bhutan.
In order to keep traditional heritage alive in the modern world, government of Bhutan has issued the royal decree to build the houses in traditional design and also initiated a painting school or Zorig Chusum, thirteen arts and crafts. Students learn those arts in 4-6 years in the school. Thirteen traditional arts and crafts are as follows;
Thag-zo / weaving
Tsha-zo / cane or bamboo weaving
Shag-zo / wood crafts
Lha-zo / traditional paintings
Sing-zo / carpentry
Do-zo / stone craving
Par-zo / carving on rocks or slate or marble
Jim-zo / sculpture
Lhug-zo / blacksmith
Gar-zo / blacksmith for infrastructure
Troe-ko / ornament designing
De-zo / paper making
Tsem-zo / embroidery
These arts are still being practiced all
over the country with their own special origins like weaving in eastern Bhutan,
Bamboo in central and paper making in western.