The history of Bhutan | Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel | The cultural heritage | The 13 traditional crafts | Wood-turning

Shagzo: Wood-turning

The wood turner (shagzopa) is skilled at making bowls, plates, cups and containers from a large range of woods. In the past his tools were simple and always hand-made by himself (metal chisels, knives and a pedal lathe), while today factory-made tools from India are also used.

 

 

A seemingly unimpressive object, such as a small wooden cup made from the burl (dza) of a tree, can tell a lot about the Bhutanese world view. It is said that in earlier times the dza was greatly valued by nobles and rulers because if, poison was poured into a bowl made of dza, it would either shatter or absorb the poisons so no harm would come to its owner.

In order the find the piece of wood with the necessary qualities, supramundane support was necessary. A master turner recounts:

»If you go out at night when it is dark and only a few stars are shining in the sky, you can look around at the mountains surrounding the valley and, if you are lucky, you may see a small light on the side of a nearby slope. That could be a dza. The next morning you should go out to the place from where the light shone and, if you dig, you may find a dza.«

The history of Bhutan
.  Bhutan before ..
.  Shabdrung Ngawang ..
.  .  The life of the ..
.  .  The unification of ..
.  .  The cultural heritage
.  .  .  The ten activities
.  .  .  The 13 traditional ..
.  .  .  .  Woodwork
.  .  .  .  Stonework
.  .  .  .  Wood- and slate ..
.  .  .  .  Painting
.  .  .  .  Clay crafts
.  .  .  .  Bronze-casting
.  .  .  .  Wood-turning
.  .  .  .  Blacksmithy
.  .  .  .  Making metal ..
.  .  .  .  Bamboo and cane ..
.  .  .  .  Papermaking
.  .  .  .  Tailoring
.  .  .  .  Weaving
.  .  .  Inheritance in stone
.  .  .  The dual system of ..
.  .  .  The national costume
.  .  A dark era
.  The monarchy
Bhutans religion
Gods and Sacred ..


Top |  Home |  Sitemap |  Search |  Glossary |  The Objects |  Tour |  Help

Wooden bowls and containers are produced on a simple lathe.
Photo by Jon Warren


Box, wood; H: 12 cm, diameter 29 cm; loan from Christof and Marie Noel Frei-Pont
Turned containers are used for storing food, or as eating bowls by highly placed personalities. A crack is mended with red wax.