Fabric of Life - Textile Arts in Bhutan: Culture, Tradition and Transformation
This extensive work dedicated to the unique textile art of Bhutan is an impressive illustration of how closely art, spirituality, and life are interwoven in the last of the Buddhist kingdoms in the Himalayas. It gives new insight into Bhutanese cosmology, worldview, culture, and society, which is associated with a variety of historical, philosophical, religious, social, and artistic perspectives.
advent of numerous Nepalese ethnic groups has not, however, merely served to enrich the ethnic mix; unfortunately, it has also led to conflict within Bhutan. It is relatively difficult for outsiders to view these ethnic conflicts between groups that originally came from Nepal and the central government of Bhutan in an objective way. It is very difficult to know whether to believe Nepalese or Bhutanese statements. The only solution is to stick to the facts: at the beginning of the 19th century,
FESTIVALS IN BHUTAN Sacred festivals take place all year round, all over Bhutan – in every fortress monastery (dzong) in each district, and in the numerous temples (lhakhang) and monasteries (gompa) around the country – and they can continue for up to five days. Among the most important religious festivals are the tshechu, which are held in honour of Guru Rinpoche. According to Bhutanese records, these festivals should celebrate his birthday and his 122 outstanding deeds, and also commemorate
Death), defeated Yama, and bound him by an oath to serve as a protector of the dharma. Since that time, Shinjey / Yama has, as a protective deity, held an important position in the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists. ‘The great battle between Yamantaka and Yama has also been regarded as a metaphorical incident that epitomizes the tension and struggle between Wisdom and Ego-grasping.’ 17 The Dance of Shinjey involves him as the male principal, yab, slowly dancing in a circle with his female
disregarded by some Bhutanese, who took photos with well-concealed mobiles. While the dance gave rise to merriment and joking among the younger public, a few tourists viewed it with embarrassment. The spiritual aspect of the dance seemed only to be appreciated by the elder generation. ‘We must view this with respect and not turn it into a joke,’ one of the villagers said, folding his hands during To save his son, the atsara gathbo conducts various religious rituals (left), and also intervenes as
Gyatso, the drametse nga cham is unlike other dances in that it transcends the physical performance and becomes a way to enlightenment. The dancers establish spiritual contact with their audience and their awakening state of mind is conveyed to all the observers. The dance becomes a meditative art form.63 For this reason, many Bhutanese people are convinced that everyone should see the drametse nga cham at least once in his or her life. Its influence over Bhutanese society is clear; it is very