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Shinjey Yab Yum, Ngangbi Rabney: Day Three, Final Day [Close shot]

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Shinjey Yab Yum

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Shinjey Yab Yum, Ngangbi Rabney: Day Three, Final Day [Close shot]
Additional title: Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort
Core of Culture (Organization) (Producer)
Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)

Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2006
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 984B
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Masks -- Bhutan
Sword-dance -- Bhutan
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)
Bumthang (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Mask dances -- Bhutan
Animal dances -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Additional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 984A.
Biographical/historical: This is the second year that we have documented the Ngangbi dances (2005 & 2006). The courtyard has been improved, expanded and flattened so as to get rid of the very noticeable slope of previous times. The cameras are in much the same positions as before, but there is now more space for spectators. The arena was roped off. The documentation concentrated mainly on the Zhey dances and did not shoot many of the intermediate masked dances and boedra. A new lama has been appointed (the ex-Champoen at Trongsa Dzong) and he introduced for the first time an external dance - a five-man version of Zhanag (with masks) using monks from Chakar. This, too, was not recorded - though the execution was good.
Content: Ngangbi Rabney/Ngangbi Ramnyen, Day Three: Dec. 6, 2006: Zhey, Pt. 1 first part of the long dance performed by the local Zheypa group ; Zhauli Cham (Nyulemai Cham) - The Dance of the Evil Spirit ; Sampa Ngacham Mangcham - Drum dance of all attendant spirits ; Zhey: Jyui Lam Dam a particular dance in which the Zheypa link arms and pass under each other to form a close-knit group ; Pholey Moley - The Dance of the Noblemen and their Ladies ; Zhey: Hiyo - another particular dance that sees the Zheypa leaning alternately to right and left in a line with the Zheypon spinning by himself in front of them ; Khandumai Cham - The Dance of the Dakinis ; Zhey: The final dance of the Zheypa for the day.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Ngangbi Lhakhang, in Bumthang, Bhutan (courtyard baseline looking along left diagonal towards the Lhakhang), on Dec. 5, 2006.
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 (14 min.) : sound, color
The version of Shinjey performed on the second day has an ordinary pair of bull masks - that are not so sacred as those used in the performance yesterday. The young monkey thurifer is once again present during the start. Shinjey Yab Yum - Dance of Yamantaka, the Lord of Death, and his Consort, each wearing wrathful Bull masks. This dance, which always occurs at the start of proceedings sees the pair clearing the arena of evil influence and blessing the site prior to the arrival on earth of the Deities that are to follow after them. (Shin means Death: Je means Lord) (Yab means Male: Yum means Female). The Bodhisatva Manjusiri (Jampelyang) represents the body of Wisdom of all the Buddhas. When he takes on the appearance of the terrifying Lord of Death, he is known as Shinjey (Shin is Death and Jey means Lord). As the Lord of Death he is considered to be the ruler of the Three Worlds, which are under his protection. His wrathful Bull or Buffalo face guards the four continents and blesses them before the arrival on Earth of the gods of Wisdom. Sheljor, The two consorts shake their heads as they pass each other. This movement is known as sheljor - bussing or face kissing - and it shows how close the two deities are to each other. Lopoen Phuntsho of Tamzhing thinks that this sheljor is only typically found in the Shinjey dance. Tenzing-la of Tamzhing thinks that it has the function of frightening the evil spirits. Lopoen Mindu of CMA says that it represents the wrathful aspect of the two Shinjey figures. The atsara are given a particular task at this festival - to feed the two fierce yaks with salt. Ifthey don t manage to feed them, then they will be fined by the festival committee. So the atsara here act rather like a timid bull-fighter - which has become part of the dance. The other difference in this version (called Sachak Namchak - which means to break open both the ground and the sky) is the appearance of a monkey at the start of dance with an incense burner or thurible. The incense is understood to be part of the ritual of purifying the ground. Both of these actions are indicative of the idea that the advance guard from the main deities are borrowing the ground from the local spirits for the duration of the Rabney Festival.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19942813
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): bb441d20-0821-0131-9903-3c075448cc4b
Copyright Notice
Core of Culture
Rights Statement
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Item timeline of events

  • 2006: Created
  • 2013: Digitized
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Shinjey Yab Yum" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2006.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Shinjey Yab Yum" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 13, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2006). Shinjey Yab Yum Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Shinjey Yab Yum, (2006)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=April 13, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Shinjey Yab Yum