See Exquisite Garments On Display At The ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ Exhibition
The exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2021.
By Thinley Namgay | Kuensel
In commemoration of the 40th Birthday of His Majesty The King, an exhibition ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ which offers rare glimpses of the garments worn by the Kings of Bhutan is being held.
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, as well as the patron of the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (RTA), Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck inaugurated the exhibition on 18 February 2020.
In her message, conveyed through the foreword of the exhibition catalogue, Her Majesty wrote:
“While this exhibition will offer rare glimpses into the private moments in the lives of our Kings, past and present, it will also give the people an opportunity to pay tribute to our selfless monarchs who have made and continue to make extraordinary contributions and sacrifices for the nation and the people of Bhutan.”
Exquisite pieces to look out for
Chief Curator of the Textile Museum, Tshering Uden Penjor said that the ceremonial sword which belonged to His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Namza kutoe (women’s jacket) of Her Majesty Gyalyum Phuntsho Choden and a child’s jacket of the Third Druk Gyalpo are some of the speciality at the exhibition.
The exhibition also displays the Namza gho of all the five Druk Gyalpos, the Namza kira of Her Royal Highness Ashi Wangmo, Her Majesty the Gyalyum Phuntsho Choden, Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother Kesang Choden Wangchuck, Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck and the multi-purpose ceremonial cloth (Chagsi Pangkhep) that belonged to Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother.
Another highlight is the Uzha Jharog Dongchen (the Raven Crown) which Desi Jigme Namgyel wore when he won over his internal rivals to unify the country and fought against the British in 1865. The Raven Crown is therefore regarded as the national symbol of monarchy and unity.
Other interesting exhibits include: the Zhablham collections of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty The King, different types of hats worn by the royal family members, the Namza rachu (women’s shoulder cloth), gayok (saddle cover), and a pair of cuff links.
Tshering Uden Penjor mentioned that the Namza kutoe of Her Majesty Gyalyum Phuntsho Choden and child’s jacket of the Third Druk Gyalpo tell the story of mother and son, along with historical facts.
About the weaving tradition of Bhutan
“The weaving tradition in the country dates back many generations, but it gained momentum during the time of the Second Druk Gyalpo. The skills of the weavers greatly improved during the second King, under the patronage of Her Majesty Gyalyum Phuntsho Choden,” she explained.
The exhibits were contributed by the members of the Royal family, the RTA and Textile Museum, while some are from private individuals on loan.
The exhibition will remain open to the public at the RTA for a year, until January 2021.
Tshering Uden Penjor also said that under the patron of Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Bhutanese textile has recently been recognised as one of the last major artform of Asia. It is also gradually gaining international recognition.
What some of the visitors said
Meanwhile, guests at the opening of the exhibition said that they were blessed to see so many rare items on display.
“It is a rare opportunity. Her Majesty’s vision to open the exhibition to the public will give people from all walks of life an opportunity to link with our great leaders though this exhibition.”
Another guest at the inauguration thanked Her Majesty the Gyalyum for reviving and preserving Bhutanese textiles as the patron of the RTA.
“The rich and unique Bhutanese textiles were on the brink of extinction had it not been for Her Majesty’s timely intervention,” he said.
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.