Managed by the local government in association with the National Technical Training Authority the Thimphu National Institute of Zorig Chusum is a one of a kind platform devoted to celebrating and exploring Bhutanese craftsmanship and the rich history and techniques of local art forms. Set up as early as 1971 this government institution has spent the last three decades passing on these valuable skills to Bhutan’s new generation of artists and craftsmen through vocational training programs at the institute. Tucked away within the lush environs of Thimphu’s Kawajangsa region this prolific art school is a stopover for many tourists with a taste for creative expressions in art. Exploring the length and breadth of traditional Bhutanese art forms there is no finer venue to discover the cultural legacy of this tiny Asian nation that at the National Institute of Zorig Chusum.
Believed to have been the discovery of ancient treasure hunter Terton Pema Lingpa in the 15th century all traditional art and craft forms in Bhutan belong to 13 specific schools of art. Zorig Chusum therefore refers to the thirteen traditional art forms of Bhutan and they include weaving (Thagzo), wood turning (Shagzo), stone works (Dozo), needlework (Tshemazo) and wood work which is known as Shingzo in the local tongue. Clay work (Jinzo), silver/goldsmith work ( Trozo), paper making (Dezo) and bronze casting (Lugzo) are also part of the 13 art forms as are cane and bamboo creations, painting, wood carving and blacksmith work.
Students at the institute follow courses in these conventional crafts for up to six years, honing their skills while living within the institute’s hostel. The increase in demand for Zorig Chusum wares has made the school a coveted educational center as graduates can secure gainful employment soon after the completion of their studies. Visitors are always welcome at Thimphu National Institute of Zorig Chusum and travellers can witness the complex processes of creating timeless pieces and converse with students on the finer points of the various artistic endeavors. Visitors can also purchase creations by the students at the school’s two craft shops where conventional Bhutanese items are available at reasonable rates.
Travellers on the lookout for Bhutan tour packages this holiday season should look no further than Uma Bhutan for the best deals in town. Reputed as a premier hospitality space in the Asian nation this elegant Bhutan hotel offers cozy short stay and long stay accommodation for holidaymakers and business travellers.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+