Arts and Crafts 

Bhutanese art is comprised of an eclectic assortment of paintings, sculpture, dance and drama. Predominantly based on religious themes. Developed over centuries with meticulous care, and practiced with dedicated fervor. They are mostly of spiritual significance and serve to promote religious beliefs rather than aesthetic purposes. Usually depicting scenes and events that makes an effort to translate fateful moments and events believed to have occurred in the life of great saints and deities. Rich contrasting colors are used to highlight the underlying themes in paintings which are required to be in strict conformity to set patterns of iconography. Similarly in the case of dance and drama the plot, climax and choreography belong to an different era when it was originally conceived. Props and instruments have also remained unchanged for generations. The highly skilled artists are trained for several years under the careful guidance of accomplished masters. Dances are performed to pay tributes to great saints and learned scholars and to commemorate the triumph of the good over the wicked. Types of paintings include wall hangings, frescoes, floral designs to decorate the walls and ceilings. Doors, windows, lattices and other wooden fixtures of buildings are also painted not just to enhance their duty but also to ward of the evil eye. Calligraphic inscriptions are sometimes found adorning the entrances and vestibules of some temples and monasteries.

Craftsmanship in Bhutan evolved more out of necessity for articles and implements of everyday use, not usually intended for trade. Mostly made by peasants for personal use in their spare time and not for the sake of livelihood. Since they are hardly oriented for the market only the surplus are put up for sale. Supply is affected by factors like availability of time, materials, utility value and not necessarily regulated by demand. Articles that are being produced by trained Bhutanese craftsmen that are now being popular as novelties, souvenirs and gifts are lacquered, wooden masks, the plates, bowls, receptacles, pieces of furniture, caskets and containers, etc... Bamboo and cane are also used to make mat, baskets, screens, hats, cylindrical containers for storing wine, etc…

A notable handmade product that owes its origins exclusively to Bhutan is indigenous Bhutanese paper made out of the pulp of bamboo shoots and tender bark. Traditional Bhutanese paper is now being widely used to fabricate and fashion calligraphic notes, wrappings, greeting cards, ornamental letter pads, envelopes, lamp shades, eco friendly shopping bags and a variety of other such novelties. Another exquisite example of highly skilled craftsmanship identified with Bhutan is its hand woven fabrics, prized by collectors for their excellent quality, intricate geometric designs, sophisticated patterns, flawless texture and attractive colors. Painstakingly hand woven from natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool and yak hair and colors mostly derived from purely organic dyes only. Different regions have their own specialties and are in great demand among the locals and visitors alike.