2006-2009: Japan finances the project
"Safeguarding of the Drametse Ngacham"


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UNESCO has started to implement the Project entitled "Safeguarding and Promotion of the Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse, or Drametse Ngacham". This cultural expression was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.

This Project is financed under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage .



Context and Objectives of the project:


The Drametse Ngacham, or Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse, is a sacred masked dance performed twice a year in the village of Drametse in eastern Bhutan. It dates back to the sixteenth century and is organized by the Ogyen Tegchok Namdroel Choeling Monastery. Drametse Ngacham is held during a festival in honour of a famous Buddhist guru. It has developed in other monasteries with local variations, but the Mask Dance from Drametse is the original.


Drametse Ngacham dance has evolved to an art form representative of the Bhutanese culture. It is very popular in Bhutan and appreciated among all generations. However, there are less and less practitioners, partly because of the disappearance of dedicated practitioners and a gradual impoverishment of the dance, and also because of the absence of a specific training system and a decreasing interest among young people.


The objectives of this project due to be completed in August 2009 are the provision of sustainable foundations for the transmission of skills to the younger generations, research and documentation and awareness-raising of the importance to safeguard this cultural expression.



Activities foreseen


The project's activities include:


- Training: strengthening of the training capacities of the Drametse Monastery, workshops for dancers, teacher training, refresher courses.


- Compilation of existing documentation, research on history, meaning choreographies and techniques of Drametse Ngacham, video documentation throughout the country and the establishment of an achieving system


- Promotional activities (publication of a booklet on Drametse Ngacham and a video documentary)


This project, which follows another project financed through this Funds-in-Trust entitled “Establishment of a National Inventory of the Performing Arts in Bhutan” (2001-2004), will contribute to the efforts that have been made in the past years to safeguard Bhutan's intangible heritage, and in particular to ensure the continuity of the mask dance of the drums from Drametse.





Masterpieces proclaimed in 2005 - The Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse, or Drametse Ngacham


人類の口承及び無形遺産の傑作の宣言 (2005年)


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