Himalayan Art Resources

Bhutan: Bumthang Chamkhar Tamzhing (A. Maki Archive)

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Bumthang Chamkhar Tamzhing (site name: Tamzhing Lhundrup Choling; location: Chamkhar Valley, Bumthang district) The temple of Tamzhing Lhundrup Choling (gtam zhing lun grub chos gling) was built by the Nyingma terton (gter ston) Pema Lingpa (1450-1521). Begun in 1501, the temple would eventually house all of Pema Lingpa's terma (treasures) he had withdrawn to date. At the consecration ceremony in 1505, Pema Lingpa performed dances revealed to him in visions and in terma texts. The main shrine is dedicated to the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, and upstairs houses the gonkhang (mgon khang), dedicated to the protective deity Tsi'u Marpo (tsi'u dmar po) and a shrine to Tsepagme (tshe dpag med). The ground floor assembly hall, the antechambers to both shrines and the upper floor are later additions to the original structure, which seems to have had an open courtyard. Surrounding the assembly hall are murals said to be original to the time of Pema Lingpa; however, this is contested. While some maintain that they were painted by Pema Lingpa himself, in fact his autobiography relates the names of the artists: Lama Gyalchog, Kundrey and Tshering. Pema Lingpa's borthers Guru and Dromzar oversaw the stonework and earthworks, while the lamas Chogyam and Kunga Chogyal oversaw the woodwork and wall plastering. For his efforts, Chogyam was given a pair of cymbals, offering bowls and other metal goods, and Gyalchog was offered a set of lamps and a copper vessel. The two painters, Kundrey and Tshering, were given four horses, one metal urn, silk, and a couple of measures of gold. Tshering received an additional metal offering lamp as well.

Ariana Maki 3-2012