Error when loading video.

Sachak Namchak, Ngangbi Rabney: Day Two [Wide shot]

More Details Cite This Item

Library division & collection with this item:

This Item

Sachak Namchak

View this item elsewhere:

Sachak Namchak, Ngangbi Rabney: Day Two [Wide shot]
Additional title: Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort (with Yak masks)
Additional title: Shinjey Yab Yum
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 976A
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
Religious dance -- Bhutan
Mask dances -- Bhutan
Animal dances -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Additional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 976B.
Content: Ngangbi Rabney/Ngangbi Ramnyen, Day Two: Dec. 5, 2006: 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. 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.
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.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (12 min.) : sound, color
This Ground-breaking dance (which is a variant of the Shinjey Yab Yum) is considered to be a very sacred dance - dating back to the time of Lama Namkhai Samdrup, the founder of Ngang Lhakang. It is believed that the Lama himself carved the two Yak masks, since he wanted his Shinjey to be distinguished from other Bull-headed Shinjey dances. He then found two sets of horns, of exactly the right size and weight, on a local mountain-side (today known as Horn Mountain) and affixed them to the masks. They are considered to be treasures of the Lhakhang. Also particular to the Ngangbi version is the presence of a thurifer, an incense carrying monkey or small boy - who runs around at the very start of the dance, censes the arena - jumps a few times and then retires. 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): b19942777
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 7c3a0cd0-0826-0131-aa01-3c075448cc4b
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

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

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Sachak Namchak" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2006.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Sachak Namchak" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 14, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2006). Sachak Namchak Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Sachak Namchak, (2006)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=April 14, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Sachak Namchak