Zhanag Ging Cham, Nabji Drup: First EveningAdditional title: Dance of the Black Hats with Ging and Fire CeremonyAdditional title: Mewang
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 744
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanFestivals -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- TrongsaTrongsa (Bhutan : District)Ritual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanHat dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesContent: 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, First Day (evening of Dec. 24, 2005): There was a procession of relics during the afternoon which was attended by a few dances, the Beh and the Gomo Zhi. The Drup only started after dark - leading up to the Mewang Fire Ritual. Entry Procession of relics to Nabji Lhakhang: Beh - Martial Dance ; Gomo Zhi - Dance of the Four Kings Atsara Cham - Dance of the Atsaras ; Zhanag Ging Cham (Mewang) - Black Hat [dance] and Ging Dance followed by Fire Ritual.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Nabji Lhakang (on raised wall looking at the Lhakang along the right diagonal), in Trongsa, on Dec. 24, 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.Source characteristics: Poor visual quality; very dark.
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 30 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionFour Black Hat dancers surround four Ging who hold a cloth over the central fire. At a certain point the fire flares and the cloth catches flame - provoking delight, hilarity and scenes from a bacchanalian rite in high contrast lighting. 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 ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19806681Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): bf14bfa0-e376-0130-b68a-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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