Raksha Mangcham, Nabji Drup - Day Five [Wide shot]Additional title: Dance of the Judgement of the Dead
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 872A
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanMasks -- BhutanSpirits (Buddhism)Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Trongsa (District)Trongsa (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanMask dances -- BhutanAnimal dances -- BhutanSpirit dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For close shot version, see: *MGZIDF 872B.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, on Trongsa, Bhutan (on raised wall looking at the Lhakang along the right diagonal), on Dec. 28, 2005.Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PDBiographical/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 DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 191 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionAll day performance of one single continuous piece - many parts that beginning late in the morning would continue through till dark. 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 ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19894826Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 548f0b70-e506-0130-bb30-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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