Bhutanese Arts and Crafts is put under the generic local name Zorig-Chusum (13 traditional Arts and Craft). To name them we have:
1. Lha-Zo: for drawing calligraphy and dyeing
2. Lug-Zo: casting of images of dough and butter accoutrement, pottery, containers
3. Do-Zo: Designing, constructing and erecting of stone walls, footpaths
4. Shing-Zo: For house construction and other wood works
5. Tshar-Zo: Anything relating to production from bamboo, rattan and reeds.
6. Par-Zo: making of block prints, moulding and sculpturing of spiritual images
7. Tre-Zo: Moulding and sculpturing with gold, silver and copper
8. Tshem-Zo: Tailoring. embroidering, and leather works
9. Shag-Zo: Making of essential wooden and similar items
10. Del-Zo: Traditional paper making
11. Gar-Zo: Production of equipments from metal other than gold, silver and copper
12. Thag-Zo: Weaving and knitting
13. Jinm-Zo: Making of spiritual earthen imagery out of special earth
Arts & Craft
Bhutan’s arts is unique in nature and is known for handicraft items in bronze, silver and other metals. Sculpting of religious figures is widely practiced and every temple houses large brightly painted and gilded status of the Buddha and other saints.
The castle-like dzong, with their gently tapering walls, classic lines, large courtyards and beautiful galleries, are among the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. Containing large monasteries inside and set in commanding position on hilltops or at the confluence of rivers, dzongs are also the administrative centers of their districts.
But, the most common architectural sight in Bhutan are the chortens or stupas which are small shrines built to house sacred relics.
Textile in Bhutan
The best known Bhutanese industry is textiles which now gained international recognition and found a niche international market. Bhutanese weavers use variety of natural raw materials like Yak hair, cotton, wool and silk to weave distinct patterns that used for clothing.
Weaving (Thag-Zo) is one of the 13 traditional arts and crafts that are put under a generic local name known as Zorig-Chusum. Thag-Zo includes anything that requires weaving and knitting or in simple words textiles. Knitting is seen as an imported art in the 20th century but the weaving has been a tradition from centuries ago. The nature of the textile is subject to geographical distribution in the country. In the south, Doyas (an ethnic group) weaves using threads made from nettle plant. Likewise the north east dwellers excel in weaving thick woolen or Yak hair textiles. The central Bhutanese such as the people of Bumthang produce Meraps and Saktips from north east, which is a colored and complex textile. The eastern Bhutanese weavers produce from silk, wool, cotton and yak hairs. One can visit the Textile Museum in Thimphu to understand how the textile is produced through the documentary video.
Thangka painting in Bhutan
Bhutanese scroll paintings called Thangka is stylised paintings depicting religious imagery. Bhutanese traditional painters use mineral pigments and frame them on bright brocade backgrounds.