ICH information collected by National Library and Archives of Bhutan

Dza-zo:Traditional Art of Pottery or Phreng Chome-ley (Indigenous terminology)
  • Manage No PI00007082
    Country Bhutan
    Year 2021
    ICH Domain Traditional craft skills
Description Traditional pottery art in Bhutan is known in Dzongkha as Dza-zo and the artisans are Dza-khem; in Kurtoep dialect they’re known as Phreng, art, and Phreng cho-khan, artisans. Dza-zo traditional form of pottery falls within the scope of recognized traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts. Today, traditional artisans in Gangzur village in Gangzur village block, Lhuentse district continue to make Bhutanese pottery. The nearby village of Maenjabi in Maenbi block formerly practiced the art, but over the past twenty years lost its artisans to age and migration for work. Archaeological evidence shows that ceramics have been important from the time of early settlement in Bhutan. Earthen pots were used as household items in the absence of utensils made of copper, bronze, and iron as we know them today. With the visit of Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan in the 8th century, handicrafts were introduced to Bhutan, including Dza-zo pottery, which was then propagated by Drubchen Thangthong Gyalpo (1361-1485) and Rigzin Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) in the 14th and 15th centuries. The tradition of handicrafts reached its peak in the 17th century when Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594-1651) took personal interest in arts such as Lhadri painting, patra engraving, tshem-zo embroidery, chag-zo blacksmithing, and troe-zo silversmithing. He reinforced the practice of these artisanal skills including pottery. Traditional pottery was first practiced in the villages of Rinpung in Paro, Wangbarma in Thimphu, Shar Goenkha in Wangdi and Gangzur in Lhuntse district. From these places, the skills and knowledge have been passed down from generation to generation until today.
Photographer Yeshi Lhendup
Place Gangzur village, Gangzur gewog (block), Lhuentse district. File Size 2.99 MB
Definition 72dpi File Format JPG
Copyright NLAB Copyright
Information source
National Library and Archives of Bhutan

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