The history of Bhutan | Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel | The cultural heritage | The 13 traditional crafts | Woodwork

Shingzo: woodwork

For centuries timber has been a plentiful resource in Bhutan. Houses, palaces, dzongs, temples, bridges and utilitarian items for the home and the field are made of wood. The carpenter also decides on questions of planning and measuring.

 
 

Measurements dictated by the sacred scriptures have to be adhered to; knowing how to build therefore also requires an understanding of the sacred texts. As all the zorig chusum*, shingzo reflects a devotional act which links the craftspeople to their personal deities.

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Until today the constructional elements for the building of a house are made by hand with the help of a few tools only. The carpenters prepare the necessary building elements; when the building has to be erected, many village people work together under the carpenter's supervision.
Photo by Marc Dujardin


This excerpt from a mural which illustrates the life story of Guru Rinpoche shows carpenters at the building of the monastery of Samye in Tibet in the eighth century. Until today little has changed concerning the techniques used by the craftspeople.