Country Summary for BHUTAN
Under The Moveable Cultural Property Act of Bhutan (2005)
Definitions and Examples (MRA Rule 59)
'Valuable Cultural Properties'—not only the objects used for religious offerings and worship, but all movable objects which are the expressions and testimony of human creation or are of the evolution of nature which are of artistic, historical, cultural, religious, social, archaeological or technical value and interest as described below:
'Kuten'—all images including images of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and other deities made from medicinal clay, zikhim, bronze, gold, silver, brass or any other materials and also on items such as Kuthangs, wall paintings, Thongdroels, Thangkas, and needlework or embroidered tapestry.
'Sungten'—manuscripts such as Kanjur, Tenjur, Sungbum, Namthar and Kabum which are written in gold, silver, vermilion, ordinary ink or shell, or craved on stone. This also includes cloth wrappers, wooden plates (lekshing), belts (lekthag), belt hooks (chabtse), dongdar, scriptures in book form bound by gotsem (stitched hardbound), prayer flags (dar-par) and amulets (sungwa tagdrol).
'Thugten'—the Eight Buddha stupas (Decheg Choeten Gyad) and all other kinds of stupas made of any materials.
'Ritual objects and Chozes'—ritual objects made of gold, silver and copper or of any other materials. The above mentioned Ku Sung Thugten and ritual objects that are 100 or over 100 years old are to be considered as Valuable Cultural Property. Those objects made and consecrated by renowned religious figures and those created by famous artisansand crafts people are also considered Valuable Cultural properties irrespective of age.
'Ornaments'—ornaments for Kusung Thugten of Lhakhangs and jewellery made of gold, silver, copper, cats-eye, and coral, turquoise, pearl, precious stone, sapphire, diamond, oyster, etc, and such other ornaments of historic interest which are considered valuable irrespective of age.
'Ritual objects made from animal parts'—objects made from elephant tusk, rhino horn, animal skin and bones which are of historical significance and considered valuable irrespective of age.
'Weapons'—arrows, spears, fire lock guns, long swords, swords, shields, helmets, short guns, rifles and armour which are more than 100 years old. It also includes other weapons of historical significance that are considered valuable irrespective of age.
'Archaeological materials and fossils'—all movable items of archaeological interest that have already been excavated or discovered during excavations or explorations. This includes fossils and namchag (thunder bolt).
'Furniture carpets and dress'—all furniture, carpets and costumes which are more than 100 years old and are of historic value.
'Architectural heritage'—includes wood or other valuable objects resulting from the total dismemberment of architectural heritage that are over 100 years old and are considered of historical and architectural value.
'General objects'—objects of Zorig Chusum (the 13 traditional arts and crafts), kitchen accessories, agricultural implements, musical instruments, coins and maps that are over 100 years old or are considered to have historical or artistic value.
'Rare objects'—rare objects from within the country regardless of how old they may be.
'Objects obtained from outside the country'—objects obtained from outside the country which are over 100 years old and which after reaching the Country are to be considered to have historic value.
'Valuable Cultural Properties owned by the Zhung dratshang and Rabdey'—Tensum and other related objects which were made under the patronage of renowned spiritual and historical leaders such as Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Je Khenpos, succession of Monarchs, and other notable people. These are the objects contained in the Dzongs, Goendeys and Lhakhangs whose sanctity has been managed and preserved through the ages with religious rites and regular ritual offerings by the Zhung Dratshang and Rabdeys.
'Valuable Cultural Properties owned by the Government'—all Cultural Properties owned by the Government such as Ku Sung Thugten, ritual objects and articles, weapons, bronze artefacts, textiles, costumes and ornaments whether new or old, and general objects such as pots, utensils, and agricultural implements kept in Government Museums.
'Valuable Cultural Properties owned by Latruel or the Community'—Tensum, ritual objects and Cultural Properties in Community or Latruel Lhakhangs and Goendeys which were built by renowned religious leaders of Latruel lineages and/or by the general public and devotees with their own wealth and labour and which are being managed and preserved for religious rites and offerings.
'Privately Owned Valuable Cultural Properties'—Tensum and Cultural Properties owned by private individuals, in a private Lhakhang built by their forefathers through their own efforts and with their own wealth, or those kept in a private altar or exhibition hall.
'UNESCO'—United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
'INTERPOL'— International Criminal Police Organization.
'Kyner'—caretaker of the Cultural Properties in the Temple.
(a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the representatives of the Zhung dratshang, Rabdey and the Department of Culture shall jointly list and register Thrams of all the Kusung Thukten and Cultural Properties present in Dzongs and Lhakhangs. Photographs and documentation of these Cultural Properties shall also be maintained.
(b) The original copy of a Thram shall be maintained by the Zhung dratshang and the Department of Culture. A copy of this Thram shall also be kept with the Lhakhang concerned. (MRA Rule 3)
(a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the Department of Culture, representatives from the respective village and the Head of the Goendeys shall jointly list and register Thrams of all Kusung Thukten and other Cultural Property, be it old or new, in Lhakhangs owned by Latruel or local Communities. Photographs and documentation of these CulturalProperties shall also be maintained.
(b) A copy of the Thram shall be maintained by the relevant Lhakhangs and concerned Dzongkhag. The original copy shall be kept with the Department of Culture. (MRA Rule 23)
(a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the Department of Culture shall list and register Thrams of all Valuable Cultural Properties belonging to a private Lhakhang, altar or exhibition. Photographs and records of the Cultural Properties shall also be maintained.
(b) A copy of the Thram shall be kept with the owner and the concerned Dzongkhag. The original Thram shall be kept with the Department of Culture. (MRA Rule 36)
Under The Antiques and Art Treasures Rules & Regulations Preamble:
'Antique'—includes the following items which have been in existence for not less than one hundred years:
1) Any historical coin, sculpture, painting, appliqué, weaving, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship which bears antique value.
2) Any article, from a historical Naktshang, cave, Dzong, Monastery, Temple, Chorten or ruin.
3) Any original manuscript, record or other document which is of scientific, historical, political, literary or aesthetic value.
4) Any article declared by the Royal Government by circular or notification from time to time to be an antique for the purpose of these rules. (MRA Rule 2(a))
'Art Treasure'—Any work of art, not being an antique, but declared by the Royal Government by circular or notification to be an art treasure for the purpose of these rules having regard for its artistic or aesthetic value. (MRA Rule 2(b))
It shall be compulsory under rules for all persons or groups who own, control or are in possession of any antique/Art treasure to register the same with the Department of Antiques Preservation. (MRA Rule 4)