The Vanishing Art Of Pottery Making In Bhutan

Email

60-year-old Tshewang Choden is the last surviving potters in Gangzur, a village that was once known for pottery making.

60-year-old Tshewang Choden is the last surviving potters in Gangzur. (Source: BBS)

 

By Yeshi Nidup | BBS

 

Pottery making, one of Bhutan’s traditional crafts, is on the verge of extinction. In Gangzur, Lhuentse, the fate of this ancient tradition rest in the hands of Tshewang Choden.

60-year-old Tshewang Choden is the last surviving potters in Gangzur, a village that was once known for pottery making.

She began learning the art of pottery making at the age of 13 from her mother. “It earns me good money but making earthen pots is not easy,” she says.

Pottery making entails hard work

While a host of factors are being blamed for the gradual disappearance of the traditional craft, it is the sheer hard work that pottery making entails that is stripping the craft of its appeal.

 

Source: www.bhutanhomestay.com

   Image Source: Bhutanhomestay.com

 

“It’s hard work. The process is long and time consuming. You have to first collect clay, remove stones from it and then knead it into dough before shaping it into various pot designs. Finally, it has to be dried and this is most the challenging part because it is hard to get firewood.”

Tshewang takes most of the pots and other earthen wares that she makes for sale to Thimphu, however Gangzur Gup Kinzang Dorji is afraid that the traditional craft may not survive for long. 

Lack of market for Bhutanese-made earthenware 

The lack of a market for locally made earthen wares and competition from ready-made imports remain the biggest challenges to preserving the traditional craft.

In Gangzur, initiatives have been taken to ensure the survival of the art. “There are over 20 households in Gangzur village and 16 of them have formed a pottery group,” Gup Kinzang Dorji said. But it was not long before the members started quitting.

“Many gave up because it’s hard work. The Tarayana Foundation still supports the earthen pottery house in the village. It would be great if the government could provide a clay crushing machine. I think this would reduce the drudgery in pottery-making and would help revive interest in the craft,” the Gup added.

Tshewang Choden too is worried over the fate of pottery. Her products sell well but she is sad that the ancient craft is dying a slow death with the younger generations not showing any interest in keeping the tradition alive.

 

This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Conserving Traditional Bhutanese Architecture

“The old buildings are important as a testimony of the past. It is not only important to preserve these houses, but also...

Mar 15, 2018 11:47

Revival of Traditional Bhutanese Dining

The Trashiyangtse dzongrab, Lam Dorji, said that since the handicrafts were locally produced, it was found to be...

Mar 08, 2018 05:52

Conserving the Traditional Art of Weaving

The mission of the Royal Textile Academy is to preserve and promote the traditional form of weaving.

Nov 18, 2017 10:36

Efficacy of Traditional Bhutanese Medicine

Research carried out by a postgraduate student at the faculty of traditional medicine under Khesar Gyalpo University of...

Nov 07, 2017 07:39

Traditional Process of Dyeing Woollen Yarns at Risk of Dying Out

The traditional method of dyeing woollen yarns to weave Yathra in Bumthang is hardly practiced today. Yathra weaving is...

Oct 13, 2017 06:44

Loss of the Brokpa Dress Culture in Bhutan

The impact of declining sheep rearing practice would lead to the loss of the brokpa dress culture, which is unique in...

Mar 28, 2018 17:57

Latest

News

Bhutan Launched 21st Century Economic Roadmap To Engage Citizens On Nation’s Progress

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering launched the website and it can be accessed through http://economicroadmap.gnhc.gov.bt

Feb 25, 2020 23:38

Bhutan’s Tarayana Foundation Launched Micro-loans For Rural Community Development

The pilot phase of the programme will start from this year in Samtse, Tsirang and Zhemgang for 18 months.

Feb 21, 2020 23:48

Features

Tribes Of Bhutan - The Brokpas

Merak and Sakteng is home to the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic yak herding tribe who originated from the Tshoona region of Tibet.

Feb 22, 2020 23:48

Symbolism Of The Colourful Prayer Flags Of Bhutan

Learn about the rich symbolism of the colourful prayer flags of Bhutan.

Feb 16, 2020 23:28

Sports

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Two ‘Made In Bhutan’ Products To Hit The Market Soon, Also Eyeing Overseas Foray

Druk Peci and Bhutan Green Product were launched on 19 February.

Feb 20, 2020 23:38

Travel

Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Lifestyle

See Exquisite Garments On Display At The ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ Exhibition

The exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2021.

Feb 19, 2020 23:28

Nightlife in Bhutan

The nightlife is delaying the day by engaging with fun and recreational activities at owl hours. Thimphu Nightlife could fascinate you.

Feb 08, 2020 12:22

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!