Tum Ngam, Thimphu Tsechu: Day Three [Wide shot]Additional title: Dance of the Terrifying Deities
NamesCore of Culture (Organization) (Producer)Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)
Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2006
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 940A
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanMasks -- BhutanSpirits (Buddhism)Buddhist demonology -- BhutanSword-dance -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Thimphu (District)Thimphu (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanMask dances -- BhutanSpirit dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 940B.Content: Programme for the Masked Dances at the Thimphu Tsechu, Day Three (Oct. 3, 2006): Durdag - Dance of the Four Lords of the Charnel Grounds ; Tum Ngam - Dance of the Terrifying Deities ; Rukusha Mangcham - Dance of the Judgement of the Dead.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Trashichhodzong, in Thimphu, Bhutan (looking down from first floor window to the extreme left of the Je Khenpo's position in the zari. This position looks across the diagonal towards the entrance and exit pavilion), on Oct. 3, 2006.Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PDBiographical/historical: History of Trashi Chho Dzong: In 1216, Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa built the Dho-Ngon (blue stone) Dzong on a hill above Thimphu where Dechenphodrang now stands. When Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal came to Bhutan in the 17th century, the followers of Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa were completely crushed, and the Dho-Ngon Dzong fell into the hands of Zhabdrung. In 1641 Zhabdrung rebuilt the Dho-Ngon Dzong and named it Tashicho Dzong (Fortress of the auspicious religion). In 1694 it was enlarged by the 4th Desi Tenzin Rabgye. During the reign of the 5th Desi, Gedun Chophel, in 1698, the Dzong caught fire and was restored. The 10th Desi, Mipham Wangpo, built the Kagyu Lhakhang inside the Tasshicho Dzong. In 1747 the Dong was enlarged at the initiative of the 13th Desi, Chogyal Sherab Wangchuk. During the reign of the 6th Desi, Sonam Lhendup, and the 13th Je Khenpo, Yonten Thaye, the Dzong caught fire for a second time. The two then proposed to move it from Dhechenphodrang and build a new Dzong at the site of its currant location. In 1777, during the time of the 18th Desi, Jigme Singye, the Kunrey (assembly hall of the monks) in the Dzong was renovated by the 25th Desi, Pema Cheda, in 1807. Phurgyal, during his tenure as the 32nd Desi, added the Di Tsang Lhakhang in 1826 and installed many new statues. In 1869 the Dzong once again caught fire, during the time of the 47th Desi. The Dzong was extensively repaired. The 52nd Desi, Kitshelpa Dorji Namgyal, built the Lamai Lhakhang and the Mithrugpa Lhakhang. He also installed a statue of Mithrugpa (Akshobya), facing west. The Guru Lhakhang was built by the Thimphu Dzongpon, Kunzang Thinley, in 1886, under the direction of Karmapa Khachab Dorji. The Lhakhang houses images of Guru Nangsi Zilnon (complete triumph over all illusory appearances, or the great subjugator), the Guru Tshengye (eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava) and the Gongdue Lhatshog (images of Abhipraya Samaja). His late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk took the initiative of renovating the Dzong in 1962. The entire Dzong was rebuilt in traditional fashion, without nails or written plans. The overall renovation works were overseen by Zopen Parpa Yodsel. Seven years later, in 1969, corresponding to the Earth Bird Year, the Dzong was consecrated by Je Khenpo Thri Zur Thinley Lhendup, and Dorji Lopon Nyizer Tulku. In 2002 a newly built Neten Chudrug (16 arhats, those who had extinguished all defilements) Thongdrol was consecrated and added to Trashicho Dzong by His Holiness the Je Khenpo. The Thongdrol depicting the Buddha Shakyamuni is surrounded by the 16 arhats. The Thongdrol is unveiled to the public annually on the 15th day of the 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar, coinciding with the Duechen Ngazom (Lord Buddha s Mahaparinivana) celebration. In the past, the National Assembly met within the Dzong. Today it houses the secretariat, throne room, and offices of the king of Bhutan. The northern portion is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo and the Central Monastic Body.Biographical/historical: The annual Thimphu Tshechu takes place over four days at end of September to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche on the 10th Day of the Eighth Month. These days equate to the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th days of the Eighth Month. According to the tradition of Lama Gongdue, the annual Thimphu Tshechu, introduced in 1670 in the eighth month of the Bhutanese calendar during the reign of the fourth Desi, Tenzin Rabgye (1638-1696).
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 78 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionTum Ngam - wrathful Deity - the main character in this dramatic subjugation dance is Pema Bazha or Dorje Drolo, one of the Wrathful manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). This spectacular and dramatic dance has a deeply symbolic interpretation. Dramatically speaking a ritual sacrificial killing is performed during the dance. Dorje Drolo and his retinue of fierce deities capture any evil spirits in the center of their circle, forcing them to take shelter in a ritual figure or linga. Once this is done, the champoen, or main dancer, wields the phurba, or ritual dagger,to destroy the evil spirits that have been captured - thus ridding the place of their influence. Tum Ngam is also known as the Dance of the Terrifying Deities tum meaning wrathful and ngam denoting a state of wrathful frenzy. This cham is a fine example of a subjugation dance, a ritual during which any evil influences or spirits in the area are forced out into the open before being herded together by the powerful deities of the dance. Once surrounded, the malevolent spirits take shelter, for their own safety, in a linga (a ritual effigy, most often made of flour and butter) in the center of the circle. There, trapped within a triangular vessel from which they cannot escape, the evil spirits are then ritually destroyed, together with the linga , by the phurba (sacred dagger) wielded by the champoen or principal dancer. The champoen, who leads the dance, represents one of the eight forms of Padmasambhava, Dorje Drolo, a particularly wrathful manifestation of the Great Guru who is of especial significance to the Bhutanese people. Tradition has it that Padmasambhava assumed this wrathful form as he arrived at Tagtsang (Tiger's Lair) a cave on a cliff high above Paro, in Bhutan. Guru had flown to Tagtsang from Tibet, riding on the back of one of his consorts who had transformed herself into a flying tigress. Whilst there, he fiercely subdued all the local gods and demons of Tibet, the Himalaya and India, forcing them to pay allegiance to him and to become guardians and defenders of his treasure teachings. The highly-charged movements of this energetic dance re-enact and remember the Great Teacher's subjugation of all enemies of Buddhism who oppose, or stand in the way of the teachings. It is considered highly auspicious to witness this exciting and dynamic dance. In ridding the area of maleficent influences Guru Dorje Drolo and his retinue of fierce deities dance to bring peace and harmony where disorder and discord had ruled and take their leave, showering blessings upon the place. This dance was later analysed, section by section, with a single monk demonstrating each step in sequence: cf the later Core of Culture tapes showing the more detailed analysis.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19938037Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 44c54ec0-f877-0130-7c97-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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