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

Garzo: Blacksmithy

The origins of working iron and other metals for making tools, swords and farming and kitchen utensils go back to ancient history. The tools of the smithy makes it possible to also work outside the workplace, for instance, at a nomades' camping sites. A pair of bellows made of animal skin, hammers, pliers and a small anvil can be taken and used everywhere. The raw material usually comes from India, because the religious interpretation of nature forbids mining in Bhutan.

 

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Blacksmiths need only a few tools for their trade and they can also make their own tools when far away from their workshops.
Photo by Jon Warren


Sword with scabbard and belt, iron, silver, partly gilded; textile, L: 89,5cm; loan from the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool
The sword is worn attached to a belt decorated with fine silver buckles. Besides being used in war, swords were previously worn as a prestigious symbol of the nobility. Today only those who are knighted as Dasho* (Senior Officer) by the king are allowed to carry one.