West and Central Bhutan | The Bumthang Province | The Farm House

The Village House

The central living quarters of each house is the room with the fireplace. Here cooking and eating take place and the entire family usually sleeps in this room. In the cold winter months, the open fireplace provides the only warmth. Chimneys are rare and the furnishings are usually very sparse.

However, the spiritual center of the house is the altar room. In this often expensively decorated room, religious depictions and ritual objects are displayed. Butter lamps and sticks of incense serve as offerings to the gods. Here, at least once a year, the village lama or a monk from a nearby monastery performs a house ceremony in order to put the local deities in a benevolent mood.


In the altar room, the family also stores their valuable objects such as, for example, the good-luck chest. Overnight guests are usually put up in this room.

The Laya in the North
The East of Bhutan
The Sub-Tropical South
West and Central Bhutan
.  The Western Valleys
.  The Bumthang Province
.  .  The Village Household
.  .  The Farm House

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Wood, multi-colored fabric covering, iron fittings; measurements 19 x 28,5 x 13,5 centimeters; on loan from Helga Paul
In order to symbolically maintain good luck in the house, coins, seeds, jewels, semi-precious stones and much more are kept in a chest in the altar room of the house.

Wood; measurements: length 29,5 centimeters, diameter 7,5 centimeters and length 31,5 centimeters, diameter 8 centimeters and length 34,5 centimeters, diameter 7 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich

Bone, snakeskin, silver, silk, silk velvet, cotton, imitation coral; measurement of the drum base 9 x 6,5 centimeters; on loan from a private collection
Hand drums, which are beaten on both sides, symbolize the simultaenous existence of both the relative and the absolute truth. They accompany the Lama in his meditation, please the gods' ears or call for the deities in ritual.

Bone; length 27 centimeters, on loan from a private collection
Ritual daggers, carved entirely out of bone, are kept mainly on the altar as decorative objects or are used in secret rites.