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Raksha Mangcham, Nabji Drup - Day Five [Close shot]

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Raksha Mangcham, Nabji Drup - Day Five [Close shot]

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Raksha Mangcham, Nabji Drup - Day Five [Close shot]
Additional title: Dance of the Judgement of the Dead
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 872B
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Masks -- Bhutan
Spirits (Buddhism)
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Trongsa (District)
Trongsa (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Mask dances -- Bhutan
Animal dances -- Bhutan
Spirit dances -- Bhutan
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Additional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 872A.
Content: The Nabji Drup begins after dark with the entrance of the GAPO-LA - the oldest man - who carries a phallus and engages in lewd banter with the audience.
Content: Nabji Drup, Fifth Day (Dec. 28, 2005): Raksha Mangcham - Dance of the Judgement of the Dead ; Zhanag Cham - Dance of the Black Hats. This last dance began to shade into darkness after the long drama of Raksha Mangcham had taken most of the rest of the day.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Nabji Lhakang, in Trongsa, Bhutan (courtyard looking along left diagonal towards the Lhakang), on Dec. 28, 2005.
Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Biographical/historical: The festival is held in honor of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism in the 8th century and to commemorate the establishment of the Nabji temple. -- Bhutan Travel Club website.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (192 min.) : sound, color
All day performance of one single continuous piece - many parts that beginning late in the morning would continue through till dark. Continuation of the day long performance that sees individual solos framed by group dances. Prizes were awarded and redistributed throughout the dance. After receiving awards of rice from each house in the village the Champoen performs a graceful solo (imitated, but not matched by the monkey). This long drama about the judgment of souls is normally performed on the penultimate day of a festival. The drama is based upon the sacred text, the Bardo Thosgrol, (the Book of the Dead) by the Fourteenth Century Saint Karma Lingpa (1327 to 1387). The drama centers around the trial of a recently deceased soul by the name of Nyalbam before the Great Lord of Purgatory, Shinjey Choki Gyelpo, who is there to pronounce judgment on his sins. The character of Shinjey is sometimes assumed by an eminent lama wearing a fierce mask (see Ura, Yungdrung Choeling versions) and at other times is taken by a huge cane puppet (see Thimphu, Paro and Korphu versions). In whichever version, Shinjey is represented as carrying a magical mirror that reflects the truth of all the actions of an accused soul, making it impossible for them to lie about the past. The Accused has on his side the Defending Counsel, a Good spirit, the white-faced Lha Kharpo, who pleads that his poverty and ignorance are all mitigating circumstances that explain his crimes and sins. On the other side is the fearsome Prosecutor Due Nagpo who argues that the accused is a serial criminal and recounts a long list of crimes he has committed including the killing of wild-life, pollution of the environment, offending people, fraud, defamation etc. etc. The trail takes place before a full court of the attendants of Shinjey, the Shinjey Lakhen who might number anywhere from six to twenty-six animal-headed spirits. The name Mangcham implies that the dance takes place with a full complement of members of the jury who will present evidence, listen to the charges for and the defense of the accused and then participate in the process of judgment. A full version of the Raksha Mang Chham might include the following: On the Right Side - led by the Ox (Raksha), Boar (Phag), Male Garuda (Chhung-Po), Lion (Singye), Raven (Ja-rog), Tiger (Tag), Oxen (Lang), Leopard (Zig), Makara (Chhu Sin), Wolf (Chang), Goat (Ra), Horse (Ta), and Dragon (Druk). On the Left side - led by the Male Stag (Shaw Po), Snake (Druel), Monkey (Treu), Female Garuda (Chhung-mo), Bear (Dom), Dog (Khi), Female Stag (Shaw-mo), Wild Dog (Faw), Sheep (Lug), Rat (Gew), Hoopoe (Dreto Zen), Owl (Woogpa) and Abominable Snowman (Migoe). Following the judgment of the sinner Nyalbam and his being sent off to further punishment on a black carpet, another judgment is performed, this time on a pious person who has lived a blessed life. The judgment is this time in his favor and the virtuous man Palkyed is rewarded by being escorted on a white carpet by fairies to a more blessed place. The Due Nagpo is furious to have lost a soul and tries, unsuccessfully, to snatch him at the end.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19894827
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 44be2750-e506-0130-266d-3c075448cc4b
Copyright Notice
Core of Culture
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. 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.

Item timeline of events

  • 2005: Created
  • 2013: Digitized
  • 2022: Found by you!
  • 2023

MLA Format

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

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Raksha Mangcham" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed November 29, 2022.

APA Format

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

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Raksha Mangcham, (2005)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=November 29, 2022 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Raksha Mangcham