Zhanag Cham, Ngangbi Rabney: 2nd Day [Wide shot]Additional title: Dance of the Black Hats
NamesCore of Culture (Organization) (Producer)Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)
Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2005
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 856A
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)Bumthang (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanHat dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 856B.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-PDBiographical/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 DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (57 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionThe Black Hat dances comprise a cycle of sacred Tibetan dances, which are said to have their source in the dance by which the Tibetan monk Llhalung Pel-Ki Dorji sought to distract the anti-Buddhist, Tibetan King, Langdarma, before pulling a bow and arrow from the copious sleeves of his costume and assassinating him in A.D. 842. The dances are performed with the ritual intention of subjugating and destroying evil and are also used as rites to purify the ground on the occasion of the construction and consecration of stupas, temples and dzongs where the wrathful nature of the dance is seen as frightening malevolent spirits away and wresting control of the site back from their power. The colourful costume of the Black Hat dances, comprising a large black hat covered in magical symbols, (hexagrams, lensa glyphs, mirrors, peacock feathers etc.) rich brocade silk gowns, vajra collars (dorji gong) boots, scarves and a particular apron displaying the wrathful face of one of the emanations of Mahakala known as a Thro-Zhey (literally, wrathful face) are completed by a set of ritual implements carried in each hand. These may vary, but most commonly include a phurba attached to scarves held in the right hand, and a skull-cap decorated with cowrie shells held in the left. The costume identifies the black hat dancers as being powerful yogis (sorcerers or magicians) who s origin shades back into more ancient, pre-Buddhist times. The dancers are said to pound the earth with their thunderbolt steps marking out the sacred geometric figure of a mandala on the ground, whilst their hands create mystical gestures or mudra known as gar based upon traditional tantric texts. As the ritual continues, the evil spirits who are present are attracted by the flickering of the scarves and are then captured and held in the linga a torma -surrounded by a triangular case that holds them fast. The climax of the rite sees these evils spirits destroyed by the flashing blade of the phurba wielded by the main dancer, who has entered a state of limitless compassion which is capable of destroying the body of evil at the same time as liberating its spirit. In Bhutan this very sacred dance was performed by the Zhabdrung himself whose wrathful performances of the Zhanag dance are said to have terrified onlookers by the intensity of his execution of this dance. Today these rituals are commemorated at Punakha Drubchen where the chief abbot of the Drukpa school, the Je Khenpho, performs in front of the public dressed in the Black Hat costume. There are many versions of the Black Hat dances, varying from 5 to more than 21 dancers, and the instruments and costumes used will also change depending upon the specific rituals performed.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19894688Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 14b62360-e508-0130-d935-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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