Reprinted from Kuensel
A workshop is underway to conserve the age old thangkas and other sacred religious objects in the Dzongs and Lhakhangs in the country.
It is being funded by the California based Getty Foundation and organized by Friends of Bhutan’s Culture – an NGO in the USA. 16 participants including 10 monks and 6 museum staff are taking part in the program.
Textile Conservator Julia Brennan is training the participants to conserve textile pieces and to take care of old sacred objects. Julia and the other participants are restoring sacred religious objects such as thangkas, ladris (Canopies) etc to their original grandeur using several stitching techniques. Over 10 different stitching techniques have been taught to the participants.
Likewise, the participants are also being trained to properly store expensive and sacred religious objects such as dorji (thunderbolt) drilbus (bells) and other important objects in safe and secure boxes.
“These ancient objects are not only sacred and valuable but they are also very rare so it is very important that they are conserved properly through correct methods” said Julia.
According to Lopen Tshering Dorji, one of the participants from Tashichoe Dzong, the workshop has been very helpful. He said that he had learnt many new skills to conserve and take care of sacred objects.
“I hope and I can contribute to conserve sacred religious objects such as kuthangs (thangkas) in the dzongs and lhakhangs across Bhutan in future” he said.
Similarly Lopen Tshoki Dorji from Tango Buddhist College felt that he was lucky to be able to participate in the workshop. He said that the skill of conserving these sacred objects would be a good means to pave way for our next life. “The merit gained from this noble act would be immeasurable” he said.
So far the participants have restored 14 thangkas and 10 ladris at Tango Buddhist College and 30 thangkas and 5 ladris at Hongtsho Tashigang.
Translated from Dzongkha version of the Kuensel issue dated 23/01/08.