Nyulemai Cham, Punakha Tsechu: Day One [Close shot]Additional title: Dance of the Evil Spirit
NamesCore of Culture (Organization) (Producer)Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)
Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2005
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 780B
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanMasks -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Punakha (District)Punakha (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanMask dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 780A.Biographical/historical: The Punakha Tsechu (as opposed to the Punakha Drubchen) is of recent origin, having been first performed in 2005. Dasho Thinley Gyamtsho, the Principal of RAPA, was asked to create a new dance spectacle to help inaugurate the Tsechu, and he devised a new piece, taking three days to perform, The Coming of the Zhabdrung which recounts the history of Zhabdrung, Nagawang Namgyal particularly as it relates to his arrival in Punakha and the building of the Punakha Dzong, Pungthang Dechen Phodrang.Content: Programme for the Punakha Tsechu, Day One: Feb. 18, 2005: Thongdrel Jyekha - Viewing of the Thongdrel of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal ; Shazam - Dance of the Four Stags ; Zhabdrung Zednam - The Coming of the Zhabadrung (Dance Drama) ; Tsechu Zhanag (Nyer Chig) Cham - Dance of the Black Hats (21 Forms) ; Nyulemai Cham - The Dance of the Evil Spirit ; Peling Jug Ging - The Dance of the Ging with sticks ; Peling Dri Ging - The Dance of the Ging with swords ; Peling Nga Ging - The Dance of the Ging with Drums.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the main courtyard, Punakha Dzong, in Punakha, Bhutan (camera level with dancers), on Feb. 18, 2005.Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PDBiographical/historical: Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong (The Palace of Great Bliss) in Punakha was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637-38 and is of great historical significance. Located on a stretch of land where two rivers, the Phochu and Mochu, coverage, the Dzong appears as great anchored ship. It was here that the Zhabdrung died in 1651. Again, it was here that the first hereditary Monarch of Bhutan, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was enthroned just over one hundred years ago, on 17th December 1907. Punakha served as the winter capital of the Kingdom until 1955, (after which the capital moved to Thimphu) and Punakha Dzong continues to be the winter residence of the Central Monastic Authority (CMA) the main monk body of the Drukpa Kagyu School.
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 22 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionThe Dance of the Nyulema - or Evil Spirit - most often precedes the arrival of the Ging (avenging punishers of Evil) who perform three dances as they search out, conquer and celebrate their victory over the nyulema. In this dramatic performance the Evil spirit first tries to win the crowd over to his evil ways - and is ably supported in his antics by the attendant atsaras - who also tease the nyulema mercilessly. The Nyulema is an Evil spirit and this extended dance dramatises both his methods of creating mischief and his ultimate discovery and capture by the Ging (who are avenging spirits sent to punish those who transgress). Nyulemai Cham is generally performed prior to the Peling Ging Sum - the three dances of the Ging revealed by Terton Pema Lingpa. At first the nyulema dances together with the atsaras, who act as willing accomplices, and interpret his actions to the crowd. His chief goal is to win the spectators over to his evil ways. The nyulema represents something present in every human being: the three poisons (Doksum (dok = poison) and (sum = three)) of Anger, Greed and Ignorance. He plays to the crowd of spectators on each of the four sides of the arena, promising to give them whatever they want - and feigning to give them food and drink in order to win them over. Eventually, he builds a fence around them to fence them in, since he wishes to make them all part of his retinue. Finally he lies down in the middle of the ground - happy at all the mischief he has done and all the souls he has won over to help him. At this point the Peling Ging-Sum begins, comprising three dances: Ju-ging, Dri-ging and Nga-ging which show the forces of good in direct combat with the evil spirit. Ju means baton or wand and the Ju-ging are spirits tasked to search out the roots of evil (using their wands as sensitive instruments to find out the direction in which evil lies). The Dri-ging - who carry swords - subjugate evil with their weapons before punishing and slaying (with compassion) any evil spirits found. The Nga-ging - who each carry a drum - perform a victory dance at having overcome the evil spirit, and also ensure that even those conquered evil spirits are still prayed for and ultimately liberated from their evil ways. The Nyulema is pursued by the fearsome gings, until he is eventually captured. The evil spirit can only escape from the encircling ging by breaking out between the champon and chamjug.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19876383Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 991bd690-e50d-0130-fc43-3c075448cc4b
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