Valuable Cultural Properties In Bhutan To Be Preserved In Their Original ‘Nature And Sacredness’

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It is estimated that there are over 45,000 such valuable cultural properties in Bhutan today.

Bhutanese-painted thangka of the Jataka tales (18th to 19th century) found in Phajoding Goenpa, Thimphu, Bhutan. (Source: Thangka Painting.online)

 

By Changa DorjiBBS

The Department of Culture, under the Home and Cultural Affairs Ministry of Bhutan states that the conservation of valuable cultural properties such as: old statues, Thangkas, murals and painted scrolls in both government and private lhakhangs and goenkhangs cannot be carried out without any prior approval.

It is estimated that there are over 45,000 such valuable cultural properties in the country today, including some 20,000 old statues as well.

 

Photo: Hiveminer

 

The Movable Cultural Property Act 2005 states that if a Valuable Cultural Property has to be conserved, the conservation shall take place in accordance with government policies.

Preserving the original valuable culture properties in their original ‘nature and sacredness’

This conservation shall be allowed only after thorough verification by conservation experts. Thereafter, the experts will determine if it is necessary to carry out the proposed conservation works. This is to preserve the properties in their original ‘nature and sacredness’.

 

 

Restoring a piece of Thangka.

Photo: 1000 Hands

 

“We restrict repainting of gold on old statues so that they do not lose their original colour. It is to preserve the sacredness of the properties since they are blessed by renowned masters a long time ago,” Phenday Lekshey Wangchuk, the Chief Cultural Property Officer with the Ministry said.

Permission for repair and repainting given after thorough verification

“However, we do give permission to repaint new statues after verification,” he added.

 

Photo: Rei

 

The Chief Cultural Property Officer said that the same rules apply to old murals and Thangkas as well.

The Department of Culture says that the restoration works such as repair and repainting of the old and damaged valuable cultural properties require specialised skills. They also mentioned that they are happy to provide the service free of cost.

 

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

 


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