Nyulemai Cham, Thimphu Tsechu: Day One [Wide shot]Additional title: Dance of the Evil Spirit
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 908A
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanMasks -- BhutanBuddhist demonology -- BhutanSpirits (Buddhism)Dzongs -- 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 908B.Content: Programme for the Masked Dances at the Thimphu Tsechu, Day One (Oct. 1, 2006): Shazam - Dance of the Four Stags ; Peling Ging Sum - The Three Ging dances of the Peling Tradition ; Peling Ter Cham - The Tamzhing Treasure Dance ; Showo Shachi (Part 1) - Dance of the Stag and Hounds (Part 1) ; Dranyen Cham - The Dance of the Dramnyen.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. 1, 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 (29 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionThe Dance of the Nyulema - or Evil Spirit - most often precedes the arrival of the Ging (avenging punishers of Evil) who perform three dances as they search out, conquer and celebrate their victory over the ways of the nyulema. In this dramatic performance the Evil spirit first tries to win the crowd over to his evil ways - and is ably supported in his antics by the attendant atsaras. This clip shows the Nyulema's dance up until the moment he escapes from the Ju-ging who try to encircle him. The Nyulema is an Evil spirit and this extended dance dramatises both his methods of creating mischief and his ultimate discovery and capture by the Ging (who are avenging spirits sent to punish those who transgress). Nyulemai Cham is generally performed prior to the Peling Ging Sum - the three dances of the Ging revealed by Terton Pema Lingpa. At first the nyulema dances together with the atsaras, who act as willing accomplices, and interpret his actions to the crowd. His chief goal is to win the spectators over to his evil ways. The nyulema represents something present in every human being: the three poisons (Doksum (dok = poison) and (sum = three)) of Anger, Greed and Ignorance. He plays to the crowd of spectators on each of the four sides of the arena, promising to give them whatever they want - and feigning to give them food and drink in order to win them over. Eventually, he builds a fence around them to fence them in, since he wishes to make them all part of his retinue. Finally he lies down in the middle of the ground - happy at all the mischief he has done and all the souls he has won over to help him. At this point the Peling Ging-Sum begins, comprising three dances: Ju-ging, Dri-ging and Nga-ging which show the forces of good in direct combat with the evil spirit. Ju means baton or wand and the Ju-ging are spirits tasked to search out the roots of evil (using their wands as sensitive instruments to find out the direction in which evil lies). The Dri-ging - who carry swords - subjugate evil with their weapons before punishing and slaying (with compassion) any evil spirits found. The Nga-ging - who each carry a drum - perform a victory dance at having overcome the evil spirit, and also ensure that even those conquered evil spirits are still prayed for and ultimately liberated from their evil ways. The Nyulema is pursued by the fearsome gings, until he is eventually captured. The evil spirit can only escape from the encircling ging by breaking out between the champon and chamjug.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19904689Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): c380bbf0-f876-0130-d295-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
Rights StatementThis 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