The venue of the three-month exhibition is the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu  

Culture: An exhibition titled Tashi Gomang: A National Treasure of Bhutan will be held at the Royal Textile Academy (RTA) on November 5. Tsugla Lopen Samten Dorji will inaugurate the exhibition.

According to a press release from RTA, the Tashi Gomang project under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, for the first time, together in collaboration with RTA, the Central Monastic Body and the government, is presenting the culturally and spiritually noteworthy exhibition of the century.

Though the Lam Manips that accompanied these sacred Tashi Gomangs, singing spiritual devotion and realisation to listeners, was initially from the Central Monastic Body, the responsibility was handed over to gomchens (lay monks) who were better suited to the tradition as they were more involved with the communities and villages. These custodians have all but dwindled down to only two surviving Lam Manips today: Manip Kunzang Tenzing, 72, and Manip Kinley, 84, states the press release.

“Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother was deeply concerned that this unique 379 year old tradition, now on the verge of extinction, if lost, would be an immense loss, not only for the Kingdom’s rich intangible cultural and spiritual heritage but for the future generations of Bhutanese as well,” states the press release.

Under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother, Dr Thierry Mathou and Tshering Tashi formed the Tashi Gomang project to record, conserve and revive the Tashi Gomang and its Lam Manip tradition to ensure the continuity of this tradition.

The Tashi Gomang project has been able to record 34 known and registered Tashi Gomangs in the country, out of which 29 will be showcased at the RTA. These 29 Tashi Gomangs were carefully conserved and restored by the Central Monastic Body, Department of Culture, Thangka Restoration and Conservation Centre and the skilled Bhutanese craftsmen of the Department of National Properties for six months before they were returned to their respective places, states the press release.

The Tashi Gomang built by Zow Balip and blessed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was placed in the utse of Punakha Dzong. This Tashi Gomang will be the jewel of the exhibition.

The exhibition will also include an interactive session where visitors can witness the monks performing the lhabsa truelsey and soelkha and Lam Manip Kuenzang Tenzing teaching the apprentice Lam Manip gomchens from Sinphu goempa in Trongsa.

The exhibition will be opened for three months where visitors will not only be able to view Tashi Gomangs but also receive blessings.

RTA in collaboration with the Tashi Gomang project, Central Monastic Body, Department of Culture and the Thangka Restoration and Conservation Centre is organising the exhibition.

Staff reporter