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Zhabdrung Zednam, Punakha Tsechu: Day One [Wide shot]

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Zhabdrung Zednam

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Zhabdrung Zednam, Punakha Tsechu: Day One [Wide shot]
Additional title: Coming of the Zhabdrung : Scene 4 - Punakha Citizens Making Offerings of Rice and Wang Zhey
Additional title: Wang Zhey
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 779A
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Punakha (District)
Punakha (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Additional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 779B.
Content: Regional dance from Thimphu and Punakha - incorporated into the Coming of the Zhabdrung.
Biographical/historical: The Punakha Tsechu (as opposed to the Punakha Drubchen) is of recent origin, having been first performed in 2005. Dasho Thinley Gyamtsho, the Principal of RAPA, was asked to create a new dance spectacle to help inaugurate the Tsechu, and he devised a new piece, taking three days to perform, The Coming of the Zhabdrung which recounts the history of Zhabdrung, Nagawang Namgyal particularly as it relates to his arrival in Punakha and the building of the Punakha Dzong, Pungthang Dechen Phodrang.
Content: Programme for the Punakha Tsechu, Day One: Feb. 18, 2005: Thongdrel Jyekha - Viewing of the Thongdrel of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal ; Shazam - Dance of the Four Stags ; Zhabdrung Zednam - The Coming of the Zhabadrung (Dance Drama) ; Tsechu Zhanag (Nyer Chig) Cham - Dance of the Black Hats (21 Forms) ; Nyulemai Cham - The Dance of the Evil Spirit ; Peling Jug Ging - The Dance of the Ging with sticks ; Peling Dri Ging - The Dance of the Ging with swords ; Peling Nga Ging - The Dance of the Ging with Drums.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the main courtyard, Punakha Dzong, in Punakha, Bhutan (camera on 1st floor balcony), on Feb. 18, 2005.
Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Biographical/historical: Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong (The Palace of Great Bliss) in Punakha was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637-38 and is of great historical significance. Located on a stretch of land where two rivers, the Phochu and Mochu, coverage, the Dzong appears as great anchored ship. It was here that the Zhabdrung died in 1651. Again, it was here that the first hereditary Monarch of Bhutan, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was enthroned just over one hundred years ago, on 17th December 1907. Punakha served as the winter capital of the Kingdom until 1955, (after which the capital moved to Thimphu) and Punakha Dzong continues to be the winter residence of the Central Monastic Authority (CMA) the main monk body of the Drukpa Kagyu School.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (12 min.) : sound, color
Regional dance from Goen. 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. Wang Zhey was presented to the Zhabdrung by the Wang people (around Thimphu) when he was staying in Pangri Zampa (a small temple he built above the Thimphu Valley). The Wang offered to serve under the Zhabdrung and presented him with two kinds of rice, one white the other red. The white rice is called Wangrekam - and is eaten in the morning at the meal called Seo. The red rice, called Goenjamam, is eaten in the evening - at Tsho. There are again many sections to the Wang Zhey, some of which are martial in aspect.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19876380
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 0510a700-e50d-0130-a4b6-3c075448cc4b
Copyright Notice
Core of Culture
Rights Statement
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Item timeline of events

  • 2005: Created
  • 2013: Digitized
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

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

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Zhabdrung Zednam" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 22, 2023.

APA Format

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

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Zhabdrung Zednam, (2005)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 22, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Zhabdrung Zednam