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Zhanag Phurcham, Peling Champa Meeting

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Zhanag Phurcham, Peling Champa Meeting

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Zhanag Phurcham, Peling Champa Meeting
Additional title: Dance of the Black Hats with Phurbas
Core of Culture (Organization) (Producer)
Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)

Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2007
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 1009
Dance -- Bhutan
Folk dancing -- Bhutan
Dance -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Rites & ceremonies -- Bhutan
Dzongs -- Bhutan -- Trongsa (District)
Trongsa (Bhutan : District)
Festivals -- Bhutan
Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
Hat dances -- Bhutan
Padma-gling-pa, Gter-ston, 1450?-1521
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Biographical/historical: This was the first time that a general meeting of the various groups belonging to a single tradition had ever been held in Bhutan. Held at the request of Core of Culture Dance Preservation, the Meeting took place at Yungdrung Choeling Dzong - the seat of the mummified remains of Pema Lingpa himself - and hence a very auspicious venue.
Content: Programme for the Peling Champa Meeting: Yungdrung Choeling Dzong, First Day (May 16, 2007): Shinjey Phomo - by monk dancers of Yungdrung Choeling, Trongsa ; Peling Chaktshel - by lay dancers of Korphu, Trongsa ; Beb Chadruk - by monks and lay dancers of Yungdrung Choeling ; Lunch Break ; Zhungdra (folk dance) by ladies of Yungdrung Choeling, Trongsa ; Dramitse Ngacham by the lay dancers of Dramitse, Mongar ; Zha-nag Phurcham (and Durdag) by the monks and lay dancers of Yungdrung Choeling, Trongsa ; Zhungdra by lady dancers of Yungdrung Choeling, Trongsa.
Source note: Only one camera was used to record the main dances during the day.
Performers: Performed by the troupe of monks and lay dancers from Yungdrung Choeling Dzong.
Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Yungdrung Choeling Dzong, in Trongsa, Bhutan (upper balcony looking along the diagonal sinister), on May 16, 2007.
Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Content: Meeting of five different groups from the Peling tradition at the palace consecrated to the remains of Pema Lingpa.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (ca. 38 min.) : sound, color
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.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19945042
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): a9f762d0-0821-0131-fee8-3c075448cc4b
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

  • 2007: Created
  • 2013: Digitized
  • 2022: Found by you!
  • 2023

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Zhanag Phurcham" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2007.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Zhanag Phurcham" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 28, 2022.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2007). Zhanag Phurcham Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Zhanag Phurcham, (2007)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=June 28, 2022 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Zhanag Phurcham