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

Dozo: Stonework

Each valley in Bhutan is dominated by a mighty monastery fortress, the dzong*. The making of stone walls gave rise to a craft of its own, stone masonry. The task was to work a block out of a rock, which fits next to, and on top of, another stone. The senior master-mason (zope) makes the plans and supervises the angles in building a wall.

 


From time immemorial stone masons have built stupas, temples, bridges, houses and, nowadays, also walls that shore up the sides of roads. Many of these structures no longer utilize the time-consuming task of preparing mortar; instead, people prefer to mix cement, which is easily purchased. The master-masons, however, are adamant that their traditional recipe for mortar produces a much stronger binding compound than the cement of today. Next to their work in construction, stone masons also produce utensils for daily use at home.

The history of Bhutan
.  Bhutan before ..
.  Shabdrung Ngawang ..
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.  .  .  .  Papermaking
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.  .  .  Inheritance in stone
.  .  .  The dual system of ..
.  .  .  The national costume
.  .  A dark era
.  The monarchy
Bhutans religion
Gods and Sacred ..


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Stones for the construction of houses and monasteries are fashioned with the greatest precision.
Photo by Jon Warren


Water pot, stone; H: 13 cm, diameter 24 cm; loan from Christof and Marie Noel Frei-Pont
Kitchen utensils made of stone have become very scarce. Many shops or markets offer industrially made goods from India, Thailand or China.