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Zhey, Ngangbi Rabney: 2nd Day [Wide shot]

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Zhey, Ngangbi Rabney: 2nd Day [Wide shot]
Additional title: Third Zhey Dance
Core of Culture (Organization) (Producer)
Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)

Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2005
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 859A
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)
Bumthang (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Additional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 859B.
Content: Ngangbi Rabney/Ngangbi Ramnyen, Day Two: Dec. 16, 2005: Beh - Martial Dances in front of the Deities temporarily installed for the festival ; Sachak Namchak (Shinjey with Yak masks) a special version of the ground-breaking dance using the very sacred Yak-headed masks carved by Namkha Samdrup ; Zhey, Pt. 1 first part of the long dance performed by the local Zheypa group ; Zhanag Cham - Black Hat dance performed by local dancers ; Zhey, Pt. 2 Second part and continuation of the Zhey dance ; Tshog Cham - Offering Dance ; Zhey, Pt. 3 continuation of the dance by the Zheypa ; Namkhai Samdrup Ngacham - The Drum Dance of Lama Namkha Samdrup ; Zhey, Pt. 4 - final section of the Zhey dances for the day it develops into the final exit procession of the relics back to the temple.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Ngangbi Lhakhang, in Bumthang, Bhutan (first floor of the Lhakhang - looking back across the same diagonal as camera C), on Dec. 16, 2005.
Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Biographical/historical: The Nganbi Ramnyen is a remarkably well-run and well preserved festival which is organised amongst 8 different villages in the Chhoekhor vallery. The Festival takes place at the Ngangbi Lhkakhang which is next door to the Noble house presided over by descendants of Lam Namkha Samdrup. The set of Zhey (Nobleman Families) dances is a remarkable survival from the time of the Zhabdrung and this variant is particular to the place. The dating of the festival is not fixed to a particular month or date but depends upon the timing of an astronomical event - as is also true at Namkha Lhakang (just over the hill from Nganbi) another temple established by Namkha Samdrup. Other particular parts to the festival include: The reading of the Tam (Jambay Lekshey) to representatives of each household - a set of dos and don'ts for the participants in the festival (Do be courteous to others during the festival; Don't get drunk and fight during the festival; Don't put a big penis in a small vagina! etc.) An evening meal for the Zhey and other participants in the festival in which ancestral food which includes cooked cow hide is served to all. The Hung Hung La dance is the last item on the festival list, and takes place throughout the evening of the last day. The Gathpo, Ganmo and Botsa atsaras go around all the local houses, giving auspicious blessings and cracking lewd jokes until dawn the next day.
Biographical/historical: Ngangbi Ramnyen is held for three days from the 15th to the 17th days of the 10th Bhutanese month. A Chamjug or rehearsal day is held the day before. This information is generally correct, however, the timing of this particular tsechu is moved to coincide with a precise astronomical event, hence the dates may move either forwards or backwards.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (2 min.) : sound, color
Excerpt from Third Zhey dance. The Zhey dancers come from a nearby village of Samthang Dung. They perform eight dances during the course of the Ngangbi Ramnyen, alternating with the eight masked dance Cham performances. Rather like one long dance broken into four parts each day the Zheypa watch the proceedings from their own desginated seats in front of the small pavillion where the deities are installed during the festival. The word Zhey is a Tibetan term which refers to both song and dance together. The story is told of the Founder of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, Tshangpa Jarey who wanted to build a Drukpa temple, but discovered a demon (in the form of a tortoise) who was frustrating and destroying the work. He created a song/dance - known as Choe Zhey, in which he claimed to be the son of Pelden Drukpa - and therefore unbeatable - and the performance of this song vanquished the demon tortoise, allowing the temple to be properly completed. Historically this is the first example of a Zhey. In Bhutan the first recorded example of Zhey is linked to the arrival in 1616, of the Zhabdrung, Ngawang Namgyel, as he escaped from Tibet and moved south to set up his own Drukpa school there. Arriving in the northern region of Gasa (adjoining Tibet) he was met and welcomed by the local people, who performed Zhey as a tribute song to the exalted lama. This first performance in Gasa, known as Goen Zhey (after a region called Goen) stands as the origin of all other regional variations in Bhutan. Other places where particular variants are performed include Wang Zhey (Thimphu); Wachupi Zhey (Paro); Nubi Zhey (Trongsa) (which four examples are taught as part of the RAPA syllabus - cf. Zhey Rup - the History of Zhey [Dzongkha publication], publ. RAPA). Other forms of Zhey continue to the present, including the Zhey dances of Ngangbi,(Bumthang) Kabjisa Zhey (Punakha) etc. whereas several forms of Zhey are no longer remembered or performed - Do Zhey (Paro) Kawang Zhey (Thimphu) etc. Zhey dancers wear special head-gear - a form of wreath - known as Thoe, which symbolises that the dancer is no ordinary person, but is a mahasiddi or a mystic who has developed special powers. Each group tends to have different colours of Thoe, and these colours have various meanings.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19894696
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 00ad4c40-e508-0130-8d71-3c075448cc4b
Copyright Notice
Core of Culture
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 2005: Created
  • 2013: Digitized
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Zhey" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2005.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Zhey" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 27, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2005). Zhey Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Zhey, (2005)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=May 27, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>