Bhutanese Mask Dance of Drums from Drametse

The Resonance of Drametse's Mask Dance Worldwide: Celestial Drumbeat Beyond Borders

Dr. Seong-Yong Park 승인 2024.04.28 17:50 | 최종 수정 2024.05.14 11:32 의견 0

In the picturesque village of Drametse, nestled amid the eastern Bhutanese landscape, a timeless tradition unfolds twice a year, captivating both locals and visitors alike. The focal point of these festivities is the legendary mask dance of drums, a sacred ritual that transcends mere performance to become a spiritual journey.

Drums that Ring Out into the Sky

As the beats of traditional cymbals, trumpets, and drums fill the air, sixteen male dancers adorned in vibrant robes and wooden animal masks take to the stage with deliberate yet energetic movements. The deliberate and energetic movements of their hands and feet captivate the audience, while their robes fly in the air, creating a spectacle that seems to reach towards the heavens.

Sacred movements of the Drametse mask dance performers in a temple. Photo by Folk Heritage Museum of Bhutan.

Dance of the Heavens

The Bhutanese believe that the mask dance of Drametse is a sacred dance that used to be performed by celestial heroes. This celestial performance embodies the essence of Bhutanese spirituality and cultural heritage. The spiritual and symbolic value of the dance brings thousands of people to the Drametse festivals each year, elevating the mask dance beyond an artistic performance to a strong communal bond that connects individuals to their spiritual roots.

Drametse Mask Dance, the Heavenly Performance

The significance of the Drametse mask dance extends beyond its aesthetic appeal; it serves as a conduit for religious education and spiritual enlightenment. Festivals like those in Drametse are crucial channels of religious education, with dances serving a didactic purpose in demonstrating stories and values integral to Bhutan’s spiritual tradition.

Despite its origins in Drametse, the influence of the mask dance has spread far beyond the village borders. With growing global reach, the Drametse mask dance is becoming an iconic cultural heritage element that represents the Bhutanese nation, resonating with audiences around the world.

Sacred movements of Drametse mask dance performers. Photo by Folk Heritage Museum of Bhutan.

The recognition of the Drametse mask dance as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO underscores its significance on the global stage. Efforts to safeguard this cherished tradition include comprehensive initiatives aimed at ensuring its continuity for future generations, such as training workshops, public awareness activities, and integration into school curricula.

As the rhythmic beats of the drums echo into the sky, the Drametse mask dance remains a timeless expression of Bhutanese identity and spirituality, weaving together tradition, artistry, and reverence for the divine.

This article is part of our ongoing coverage of intangible cultural heritages around the world.

April 28, 2024. Contributed by Publisher & Editor Dr. Seong-Yong Park.

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