Traditional Art Of Making Wooden Bowls (Dhapas) Thrives In Trashiyangtse

Email

There is a strong demand for Trashiyangtse's dhapas and dzas both locally and internationally.

Bhutanese cuisine served in dhapas. (Source: Twitter/adbhutantours)

 

By Jigme Wangchen | Business Bhutan

Unlike other traditional crafts, the art of making wooden bowls such as dhapa (wooden bowl) and dza is booming in Trashiyangtse today. Known as Shazo, it is one of the 13 traditional crafts (Zorig) of Bhutan.

Trashiyangtse is well-known for its dhapas. The people who make dhapas, cups and containers from wood are called Shazops.

In order to promote the Shazo craft and business, a cooperative called Chorten Kora Shazo Nyamlay Tshogpa was formed in 2014.

Increasing demand for dhapas and dzas both locally and internationally

The Shazops say that they are selling more dhapas than ever before and to meet both local and international demand in the market, they have increased production.

Source: Bhutan Shop

Ugyen Wangchuck, 22, has been practicing Shazo for more than a year. He said that although he has been in school till the 10th standard, he decided to learn Shazo as he was interested in the craft.

“The making of dhapas can earn a good amount of money and it is the main source of income for most of the Yangtsipas,” he said, adding that for now he can make seven to eight pairs of dhapas a day, thus selling Shazo products is not a problem.

Twenty-eight year old Karma Drugyal who has been practicing shazo for more than three years earns a profit of approximately Nu 200,000 a year.

One of the oldest Shazops in Yangtse, 62-year old Ap Jangchup has been practising his craft for almost 30 years now. He said that Shazo production has increased over the years and more Shazops are emerging every year.

Another Shazop, Tenzin Namgay 26, agreed that number of practising Shazops has increased over the years.

“Today there are more numbers of Shazops compared to the past but still the sale of Shazo products is not a problem.”

“The quality determines the price,” said Tenzin Namgay.

Some Shazops can produce 10 to 15 pairs of dhapas daily while some produce around 5 to 10 pairs depending on the size of the dhapas.

“My father was also a Shazop so I learnt the skills from him and for now I teach those who are interested in acquiring the skills.”

Reasons for the rising demand for dhapas and dzas

Ap Jangchup said that the establishment of more religious institutions over the years has also created a larger local market as monks are required to use dhapas. Moreover, hotels are increasingly buying dhapas and dzas to serve meals in for foreign tourists.

However, it is the export market that has had most significant impact. Dhapas and other products are exported to Nepal and some places in India.

As a result, Shazo is today a full time profession for most of the Shazops. In the past, most Shazops devoted only two months a year for Shazo, usually after the paddy transplantation season.

However, he said that the use of imported Japanese lacquer has helped speed up the process of dhapa production. The profit the Shazops earn depends on the quality of the dhapas they produce.

“If we get good quality burls, we can earn a good amount,” said Ap Jangchup.

Challenges ahead due to a possible shortage of burls

“The burls might not be available in a few more years from now. With the emerging Shazops over the years it is difficult to find burls but Shazops can still produce using other parts of the trees,” says Ap Jangchup.

 

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan 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

Tourism Growth Boosts Handicrafts Business

“We can see the happiness in the colours and it’s very special. I think it’s essential that westerners come over,...

Nov 01, 2017 07:10

Latest

News

USD 25.3m Green Climate Fund To Address Climate Change Adaption In Bhutan

The project can help address climate change adaptation challenges facing Bhutan, particularly in the agriculture sector.

Jan 15, 2020 16:28

Bhutan’s Target To Become A 100% Organic Nation By 2020 Delayed – Pushed To 2035

Efforts to translate Bhutan’s organic vision into reality has met with various challenges thus far.

Jan 04, 2020 23:28

Features

Bhutan’s Government Ramped Up Support For More To Drive Electric Vehicles, Help Reduce Harmful Emissions

The dealers and the manager have given the taxi drivers their guarantee on battery and the important parts of the EV.

Jan 16, 2020 23:28

Pangri Zampa Lhakhang - The College of Astrology

Locals visit the monastery every year to learn about their yearly predictions about their luck, money, health, career and many more....

Jan 15, 2020 09:46

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

Economic Roadmap Needed To Steer Bhutan Towards Higher GDP Growth

The Lyonchhen said that the economic figures will improve in 2020 as 70 percent of the capital investments still lie unused.

Jan 17, 2020 23:38

Celebrating Bhutan’s entrepreneurs: Tashi Wangdi of iHub

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jan 12, 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

Relish Your Taste Buds With 8 Delectable Bhutanese Staple Food

One of the best places to try authentic Bhutanese cuisine is through a homestay, where you will get to sample what most locals eat at home.

Jan 19, 2020 21:08

Here’s What it is like inside Hotel River Valley, Punakha in Bhutan

River Valley Hotel offers professional and customer oriented services and thereby has become the leading hotel in the region ’. Experience...

Jan 05, 2020 10:48

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!