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Visit Bhutan’s Textile Museum at Thimphu.

National Textile Museum

Her Majesty, the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, inaugurated the National Textile Museum in 2001. She is also the patron of the museum and has helped in boosting both national and international interest in Bhutan’s textiles and textile art traditions. Bhutan's textiles are an integral part of its cultural and heritage and are unique for their diversity and sophistication. Textile Museum at Thimphu has given a new platform to the nation’s textiles and Bhutanese weavers and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan. Some of the museum’s gems are the pearl robe from Tsamdrak Goenpa, crowns of Bhutan’s Kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories worn by the Royal Family, personal bedding of His Holiness Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji and the first version of the Raven Crown.

The ground floor of the Textile Museum displays skills of making cloth such as spinning, coloring fibers, preparing a loom, and manipulating two sets of yarns. It also displays decorative fabrics produced by Bhutanese weavers that can be used for several uses such as clothing, ceremonies and blankets. Various textile arts and crafts are categorically displayed in the galleries situated on the first floor of the Textile Museum. The highlights here include traditional regional garments and masterpieces produced by women and men. Women are the chief weavers in the household and men mostly embroider and appliqué fabrics for sacred and ceremonial use.

The six categories in which the exhibits are displayed are:
  • Achievements in textile arts,
  • Role of textiles in religion,
  • Textiles from indigenous fibers,
  • The Royal Collection,
  • Warp pattern weaves, and
  • Weft pattern weaves.

The basic infrastructure of the museum was constructed with Danish assistance and private donors and the government contributed to the museum. The Peabody Essex museum in the United States provided technical support to set up the museum. Managed by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs, the museum has reintroduced traditional patterns and has brought Bhutan's unique achievements in the textile arts to light. The museum is slowly moving on the path to become a center for textile studies and carry out documentation, research and studies on textiles. Other activities of the museum are:

  • National Design Competition: Held annually in September and October, the best textiles during the competition are selected through public polling, instead of the panel of judges. Some of the categories in the competition are Pesar, Traditional Designs, Innovative Designs, Appliqué and Embroidery. A textile festival may also be held during the design competition.
  • Auction of Modern Contemporary: The auction is still ‘under consideration’. The museum’s plan is to buy the best pieces of textiles from all interested weavers and sellers around the country, to quote the original price of the pieces quoted by the weavers as the ‘base price’ of the piece, and then perform the auctions. The bid amount that will exceed the base price will go to the textile museum. This plan is believed to be an encouragement to weavers to come up with better quality textiles and more intricate and appealing designs.
  • Actual Demonstrations: Museum may also apply two weavers permanently to demonstrate to the visitors how the textiles are actually woven. One weaver will be for Pangtha and another for Thuetha style of weaving.

The museum opens from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm everyday, except Mondays.

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