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Shazam, Punakha Tsechu: Day One [Close shot]

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Shazam, Punakha Tsechu: Day One [Close shot]
Additional title: Dance of the Four Stags
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 772B
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Masks -- Bhutan
Sword-dance -- Bhutan
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Punakha (District)
Punakha (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Deer dance -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Mask dances -- Bhutan
Animal dances -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
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.
Additional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 772A.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the main courtyard, Punakha Dzong, in Punakha, Bhutan (camera level with dancers), 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 (ca. 15 min.) : sound, color
A subjugation dance attributed to the first Namkhai Nyingpo. It commemorates the story from the life of Guru Rinpoche who subjugated the God of Wind - who had been creating much unhappiness and dissatisfaction amongst men. Having conquered the spirit, the Guru then rode his mount of a White Stag and gave blessings to people throughout the country, thus restoring peace and harmony to all. The dance thus subdues evil and creates benefits for all who witness it. Shazam: The Dance of the Four Stags is a re-enactment of an auspicious incident in the life of Guru Rinpoche, the great 8th Century sage who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan as he journeyed through the country to and from Tibet. Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) is also known as the great subjugator of those local deities and spirits who resisted the spread of Buddhism, and, having subdued them to his will, he forced them to take an oath that henceforth they would become protectors of the Dharma, thus turning his one-time opponents into staunch allies of the faith. The Dance of the Four Stags refers to one such contest in which Guru Rinpoche subdued the King of the Wind, the ruler of the Earth-Spirits (sadag) who dominated the North-western direction and who had been causing much trouble and strife amongst the people of those times. Having subdued and conquered this powerful spirit Guru Rinpoche took possession of his mount, a great Stag, and rode around the land bestowing blessings upon the people and restoring a period of peace and prosperity for all. The dance of the Four Stags was revealed by the first incarnation of Nam Nying (Namkhai Nyingpo) who created the Stag masks as a way to commemorate this event. As well as being a subjugation dance having the effect of warding off evil influences in the place where it is performed, the dance is also seen as having the beneficial effect of restoring peace and harmony in the lives of those who witness its performance.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19876364
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 0870d320-e50e-0130-86e2-3c075448cc4b
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
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

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

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Shazam" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 24, 2023.

APA Format

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

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Shazam, (2005)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 24, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>