Tangrag Serkem Zhanag Cham, Tamzhing Phala Choethpa: Final Day [Wide shot]Additional title: Dance of the Black Hats (Thanksgiving Dance)
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 720A
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanFestivals -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)Bumthang (Bhutan : District)
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesBiographical/historical: Tamzhing Phala Choethpa means the Tamzhing Festival of the Boar or Pig. Five kms drive from the Jakar town lies the Tamshing Lungrub Chholing which means the Temple of the Good message. In 1501 Pema Lingpa established it and now is the most important Nyingma goemba in the Kingdom. It is believed that Pema Lingpa had built the goemba with the assistance from Khandroma (female celestial deities/angels). Inside there are original images painted by Pema Lingpa. On the east side of the inner court lies a small lhakhang called as Dunkur Lhakhang. The lhakhang has an unusual design with the main chapel in the center of the assemble hall, almost like a separate building. In the front lies three thrones for the three incarnations (body, mind & speech) of Terton Pema Lingpa.Content: Tamzhing Phala Choethpa Festival (Sept. 15, 2005: Day Four): Throzam - Wrathful-masked Zam dance ; Shinjey - Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort (Laymen) ; Durdag - Dance of the Four Lords of the Charnel Grounds ; Tangrag Serkem Zhanag Cham - Black Hats Thanksgiving Dance ; Sangay Lingpai Nga Cham - The Drum Dance of Sangay Lingpa ; Chendren Ngama ; Tseo Marpo - Manifestation of the Local Protector Deity.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Tamzhing Lhakhang/Monastery (dance apron of main courtyard, first floor balcony looking back across the diagonal towards camera c), in Bumthang, on Sept. 15, 2005.Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 39 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionTangrag Serkem Zhanag Cham - thanksgiving - offering - black hat dance This is a thanksgiving offering dance to felicitate the fact that nothing untoward or inauspicious has happened during the festival. The 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.TTamzhing Phala Choethpa is held for three days each year from the 10-12th day of 8th Bhutanese month. A Chamjug or rehearsal day is held on the 9th day of the Lunar Month.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19789407Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 77f14b70-8292-0130-1c22-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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