Zoig Chusum, the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan are unique and deeply rooted in the Buddhist philosophy.


1. Shing zo (Woodwork)
2. Dho zo (Stonework)
3. Par zo (Carving)
4. Lha zo (Painting)
5. Jim zo (Sculpting)
6. Lug zo (Casting)
7. Shag zo (Wood Turning)
8. Gar zo (Blacksmith)
9. Troe zo (Ornament Making)
10. Tsha zo (Bamboo Work)
11. De zo (Paper Making)
12. Tshem zo (Tailoring, embroidery and applique)
13. Thag zo (Weaving)

Shing zo (Woodwork)

For centuries, the beauty and uniqueness of Shing zo or woodwork has played an important role in the building processes of the dzongs and palaces, the temples and monasteries, houses, bridges and furniture.


Dho zo (Stonework)
Dho zo or stonework is an old craft which is popular throughout Bhutan. Fine examples of stonework can be seen in large Chortens or the stupas like Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse and Chendebji. In rural areas, most of the Bhutanese houses are also made of stones even today.


Par zo (Carving)

In Bhutan, carving is done on various materials ranging from stone, wood and slate. Woodcarving can be found in masks, traditional symbols, bowls and cups, wooden sheaths or scabbards and handles for knives and swords, beautifully carved pillars and beams, printing blocks of wood and altars. Slate carving is another popular art and can be found in carvings of images of deities, religious scripts and mantras. Stone carving while not so evident has survived over the years in Bhutan. What survives of this art today are the large grinding stone mills turned by water and the smaller ones used by farmers at home, the hollowed-out stones for husking grain, troughs for feeding animals and the images of gods and deities carved onto large rocks and scriptures.


Lha zo (Painting)

Vibrant paintings are visible in houses, in temples and monasteries and in dzongs. The most common painting on the walls of monasteries, temples and dzongs are those depicting religious figures, including the paintings of images of Buddhist deities and saints.


Jim zo (Sculpting)

Sculpting or jim dzo is one of the oldest forms of craft in Bhutan originating in the 17th century. Clay statues, paper mache, clay masks and pots are examples of jim dzo.


Lug zo (casting)

Lug dzo or the art of casting includes wax and sand casting. In the past bronze was used for making containers such as cups, urns, and vases. Bronze was also used to make weapons such as battle-axes, helmets, knives, shields, and swords.


Shag zo (wood turning)

Shag dzo or wood turning is another ancient art tradition of Bhutan. Examples of this are bowls, plates, cups and containers from different types of wood. This is best practiced in Trashiyangtse in eastern Bhutan.

Gar zo (blacksmithy)
Gar dzo or the ancient art of black smithy is used to produce  farming tools and defense weapons including spear or arrow tips, crude axes, knives and swords (patangs).  Woochu in Paro and Barshong in Trashigang have their own iron mining resources in Bhutan.

Troe ko (ornament making)

The art of ornament is used to make ornaments out of stones like turquoise, coral or etched agate (zee) as well as silver and gold.


Tsha zo (bamboo work)

The art of bamboo weaving or tshar dzo is practiced mainly in Kheng Zhemgang and Trimshing Kangpara in Trashigang. Examples of this art form are- Bangchungs, palangs, floor mats and mats for drying grains, musical instruments like flutes, matted bamboo for roofs and fences, traditional bows and arrows.


De zo (paper making)

Traditionally, the art of paper making was confined for monastic purposes. Today, paper making is of great commercial value and is popular in Bomdeling and Rigsum Gonpa in Trashi Yangtse. Desho (paper) isespecially made from the bark of a plant known as Daphne (Deshing). The paper products today are mainly used for wrapping gifts and writing religious scriptures.


Tshem zo (tailoring, embroidery and applique)

Throughout Bhutanese history, the art of embroidery or tshemzo has played a very important role in the making of thangkas and other decorative clothes. The three main crafts in tailoring are: stitching clothes such as the gho and kira worn by men and women, embroidery (Tshemdrup) and appliqué (Lhemdrup) and the production of traditional Bhutanese Tsho lham (boots).


Thag zo (weaving)

Weaving is an income generating source which supplements the agricultural income for rural people. Weaving is done by women and rarely by male. The rich and complex art of textiles are embedded in the culture and history of Bhutan, and some of the finest weaving comes from Khoma in Lhuentse and Radhi, Bartsham and Bidung villages in Trashigang. Weaving is widespread throughout Bhutan, but women of eastern Bhutan are one of the most celebrated weavers of the country.