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Arts & Crafts


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.

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