Elements of nature embroidered into Bhutan`s royal attire

Thimpu: Auspicious goddesses and beautiful lotuses, dragons, symbols of phoenix, mountains, landscape and flowers - all these motifs have decorated attires, shoes and crowns of the royal family of Bhutan. An exhibition here offers a peek into their royal legacy.

The exhibition - Thagzo: The Textile Weaves of Bhutan - is exhibited at the Bhutan Textile Museum here on the sidelines of the ongoing Mountain Echoes literary festival.

One section displays wedding attires of king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck with Jetsun Pema in 2011.

There is a `namza gho` (men`s robe) which belonged to the second king - Jigme Wangchuk - and was worn by Jigme Khesar on his wedding day.

It`s made of golden brocade with pink flowers and detailed embroidery that is matched with `zhablham` (men`s ceremonial shoes) which has elaborate silk embroidery on brocade and velvet fabric.

Then there is an exquisite `namza kira` (women`s dress) in silk with golden yarns woven in. It`s yellow colour symbolises the birth element - earth - of the queen that she matched with `namza rachu` (woman`s shoulder cloth), again yellow in colour with detailed embroidery of the auspicious goddess and lotuses.

Her shoes had embroidery of elements from nature, landscape, flowers and symbols of phoenix.

All these displayed attires were woven using the traditional weaving technique "thagzo".

An early 19th century `chagsi pangkhep` (multi-purpose ceremonial cloth) that belongs to Bhutan`s queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck can also be seen at the exhibition.

But the most interesting objects at this exhibition are two crowns that transport the visitors to the land of myths and magic.

A 1960`s `uzam` (crown) has an embroidered dragon facing a flaming gem encased in a floral pattern, whereas the other is in the shape of Bhutan`s national bird - raven.

Belonging to the early 18th century, this `uzham jharo dongchen` (raven crown) is conceived more as a magical battle helmet than a symbol of royalty.

According to the information board of the museum, it was designed by Lama Jangchub Tsondo for Jigme Namgyal, an ancestor of the royal family of Bhutan - the Wangchuks.

Apart from this, a separate section highlights different weaves and embroideries from Bhutan and their area of origin.

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