Division For Cultural Properties

The Division for Cultural Properties was established in the early 1981, following the Royal Command of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, with the aim of preserving and protecting the rich religio-cultural heritage of the kingdom. The Division is mandated to:

  • Prepare comprehensive inventory of all the Ku-Sung-Thug-Ten (relics) and other religious articles housed in Dzongs, temples, monasteries including private collection.
  • Create awareness on safeguarding the cultural heritage of Bhutan.
  • Conserve and restore cultural properties of the country.
  • Promote the traditional skills of Men-ku (clay sculpting) 
  • Export control of cultural properties and issuance of export permit for non-antique products.
Division For Cultural Properties

Utsha Gurung | Officiating Chief

After completing a degree with major in biology and chemistry from Sherubtse College, she joined the Division for Cultural Properties in 2002, whereby she took up the responsibility of establishing the conservation laboratory under the Division for Cultural Properties after completing 7 months induction course at the National Museum of Bhutan, Paro. She is one of the few trained conservators in the country and has been involved in many projects related to conservation and preservation of artifacts. She has undergone trainings in conservation field and has worked on several projects with national and international conservation experts. She is at present the Chief of the division.

Email id: utshagurung@moha.gov.bt

Sangay Wangchuk

Sangay Wangchuk | Principal Cultural Property Officer

Sangay Wangchuk, a Principal Cultural Property Officer for the Division for Cultural Properties, is a mentor and a member of Specialist Advisor Team of the Department of Culture. In the last 31 years of his service he has served as a Dzongkhag Cultural Officer and as an educator in the Ministry of Education. He was actively involved in finalizing the 13th volume of Kuenphen Lamtoen, conducted numerous research on the sacred nyes and temples of the country. He is a recipient of Royal Civil Service Gold and Silver medal from His Majesty the King for 30 years of his service. He was also a co-ordinator of the technical working group responsible for Chadri and Chibdrel Ceremony during the Coronation and Royal wedding of His Majesty the King. He has attended the 45th Batch Accelerated Desuung Training Program at RBG, Dechencholing. Besides his regular duty he is a member of the National Film Review Board, Druk Nekor and Juror for the Bhutan National Film Awards. He also provides trainings on Driglam Namzha during the National Graduate Orientation Programs.

Email id: swangchuk@moha.gov.bt

Lopen Karma

Lopen Karma | Senior Instructor

72 years old Lopen Karma is one of the master sculptors well known in the country as well as abroad. He has received the highest civilian honorary Druk Thuksey (heart son) medal from His Majesty the king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk in 2009 on the 102nd National Day celebration for his exemplary contribution in upholding the Bhutanese sculpturing art. Currently he serves as the Senior Instructor of Jimzo (sculpturing) section under Division for Cultural Properties and supervises and monitors the sculpturing works in restoration projects

Email id: lopenkarma@gmail.com

Tashi Lhendup

Tashi Lhendup | Sr. Conservation Assistant

Tashi Lhendup is a conservation restorer of painted objects, mural paintings and scroll paintings and also a trained embroider and slate carver. He joined the Division for Cultural Properties in 2004. He graduated from National Institute for Zorig Chusum with a certificate of Traditional mural and scroll painting and later underwent mural painting conservation training conducted by Department of Culture in collaboration with UNESCO. He is working on conservation and restoration of mural paintings of Utsi (central tower) of Tango and Chari monasteries. He has conserved and restored the mural paintings in several important heritage sites in the country. He had attended both international and regional trainings and workshops on restoration and conservation of mural paintings, thangkas, archeological artifacts and polychrome and illustrated manuscripts. He was awarded the Outstanding Certificate by the National Museum Institute, New Delhi. Apart from his skill, he undertakes research on conservation of paintings; documentation of multispectral photography and assesses environment and micro-biological control.

Email id: tlhendup@moha.gov.bt

Tshewang Lhundup

Tshewang Lhundup | Sr. Record Assistant

Tshewang Lhundup is a Sr. Record Assistant who is serving 33 years as of now in the Division for Cultural Properties. He has attended series of workshops on antique identification in the year 1990, 1995, and 1996 at Tashichhodzong. At present, he maintains records of moveable cultural properties of temples and monasteries. He also oversees handing-taking of Thrams (record) between caretakers of temple and monasteries in the country.

Email id: tshewanglhundup@gmail.com

Karma Tshering

Karma Tshering | Sr. Record Assistant

Karma Tshering joined as a Record Assistant in the Division for Cultural Properties in 1998. Later in 2003, he attended many workshops on Bhutanese iconography. He maintains a complete records of Cultural properties (religious artefacts) in the form of data along with photos. He also oversees the handing-taking of Thrams (record) between caretakers of temples and monasteries in the country and validates of cultural properties record.

Email id: karmatsheten2018@gmail.com

Tshering Tobgay

Tshering Tobgay | Assistant Cultural Property Record Officer

Tshering Tobgay is a graduate from the College of Language and Culture Studies with Bachelor Honors in Language & Literature. He is the recipient of His Majesty’s accolade certificate for topping the Royal Civil Service Commission examination, 2018 in the Dzongkha category. He is the Assistant Cultural Property Record Officer at the Division for Cultural Properties. He is entrusted to identify, protect, and preserve moveable cultural assets which represent the rich cultural heritage of the country. Besides, he also maintains records and conducts research on cultural properties. He is currently on deputation with Centre for Bhutan Studies.

Email id: ttobgay@mohca.gov.bt

Norjai Wangdi

Norjai Wangdi | Record Assistant

Norjai Wangdi from Pemagatshel has served as a Messenger for the Department of Culture (DoC) from 1989 to 1999. He was then promoted as Dispatcher and subsequently as record assistant for the Division for Cultural Property (DCP). Presently, he maintains the comprehensive records of movable cultural properties for inventory database management. Besides he also issues export permit for non-antique cultural artefacts.  Until now, he has served for 33 years in the Department of Culture.

Email id: norwang2011@gmail.com

Dotten Norbu

Dotten Norbu | Jimzop (sculptor)

Dotten Norbu is a certified skilled Jimzop (sculptor) serving in Division for Culture Properties. He started learning the art of sculpturing from late Lopen Omtong (1945-2001) at Phurpa lhakhang, Satsham Chorten in Paro in 1998. His experience includes working with Lopen Omtong during the renovation of Punakha Dzong; working with Lopen Karma during the reconstruction of Paro Taktshang monastery and restoration of statues in Tashichodzong before joining the Department in 2007.

Email id: dottennorbu@gmail.com

Namgay Lhendup

Namgay Lhendup | Jimzop (sculptor)

Namgay Lhendup is a certified skilled jimzop (sculptor) in Jimzo section under Division for Cultural Properties. He joined the Department of Culture (DoC) in 2007. He was one of the students of renowned master sculptor late Lopen Omtong (1945-2001), a recipient of Druk Thugsey medal in 1999. Before joining DoC he worked at Punakha Dzong Renovation Project for five years and with the Odiyana Retreat Center Project in San Francisco California USA with Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche in 2002. He also assisted late Lopen Tumpo at Khumsumyueley Namgyel chorten, Nyerzergang in Punakha, Zangtopelri in the premise of Chukha Hydropower Project and in many other cultural heritage sites.

Email id: namperlhendup@gmail.com

Yonten Thinley

Yonten Thinley | Jimzop (sculptor)

Yonten Thinley is a certified skilled Jimzop (sculptor) serving in Division for Culture Properties (DCP). He is a student of Lopen Karma, one of the renowned sculptor in the country. He worked with Lopen Dondu in Nepal at Yangleshay for a year and returned to Bhutan to work at Paro Taktshang reconstruction project. He then joined the DCP in 2007 where he has been involved in sculpturing works for several heritage sites in the country.

Email id: yontenthinley@gmail.com

Sangay Dorji

Sangay Dorji | Jimzop (Sculptor)

Sangay Dorji joined the National Institute for Zorig Chusum in 2008. After his graduation, he further gained skill by working under Lopen Nima (former Instructor in Zorig Chusum) in Phuntsholing and worked at Tabo Goenpa in Himachal Pradesh, India. He then underwent apprenticeship with Lopen Karma (master sculpture). In 2020 January, he joined the Division for Cultural Properties and is currently involved in all conservation projects undertaken by the Department of Culture.

Email id: sangay6653@gmail.com

Pasang Tshering

Pasang Tshering | Conserver

Pasang Tshering joined the Division for Cultural Properties (DCP) in 2004 after graduating from the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. He studied traditional mural and scroll painting for 8 years and also has undergone six months training on mural painting conservation conducted by Department of Culture in collaboration with UNESCO before joining the office. He acquired several trainings on different fields such as conservation of paintings, illustrated manuscripts and textile conservation from renowned institutes in Asia. He has contributed his skills in conservation and restoration of mural paintings in several important heritage sites in the country.

Email id: pasangdcp08@gmail.com

Karma Yeshey

Karma Yeshey | Conservator

Mr. Karma Yeshey is a wall paintings conservator with the Division for Cultural Properties (DCP). He studied Conservation of Wall Paintings (MA) at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, UK. He also acquired a Masters in Buddhist Art: History and Conservation from The Courtauld and Kings College, London.

Previously, he has worked with the Textile Museum of Bhutan as a Textile Conservator (for more than five years). Since then, he has worked on heritage sites in Bhutan, India, and the UK. He also undertook internships at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and private conservation studios in London. His research interest is in Buddhist art, wall paintings, and fire risk management for cultural heritage.

Email id: karmagho@gmail.com

Tshering Choden

Tshering Choden | Conservation Assistant

Tshering Choden has joined as the Conservation Assistant in the Division for Cultural Properties in 2019. She has been involved in conserving various moveable cultural properties (Thangkas, Sculptures, canvas paintings, murals etc.). She was involved in conserving cultural properties at several heritages sites in the country. She was awarded Certificate of Appreciation from Her Majesty the Queen Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck for successfully completing the restoration and preservation of cultural properties at Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang in Paro. She has completed online training on cultural properties collection and documentation conducted by Eka Archiving Service Pvt. Limited in 2020.

Email id: tsheringc1990@gmail.com

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