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4 Friends Art Painting


Oil painting on traditional paper. Length - 43cm, Width - 20cm


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Papermaking is considered one of the most important parts of Bhutanese culture and tradition.

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory in Namtag Lam, about 1km away from the Thimphu City, is a pilot conservative program to preserve their traditional handmade papermaking by Bhutan's Ministry of Trade and Industry.   

The term Jungshi, as explained by Mr Norbu Tenzin, means Natural in Dzongkha. To produce the paper, Mr Norbu Tenzin needs to harvest the bark of either Daphne tree or the Dhekap tree and natural water from the mountains. All these materials are sourced locally in the restricted area regulated by the Forestry Department.

The Buddhist legend of the four harmonious animals has lineage to the Vinayavastu that constitute the first few sections of the Kangyur, under the canon of Tibetan Buddhism.

In Bhutan, this figure is the most well-known national folktale in Buddhist mythology and available on many temple murals, and stupas.

The illustration of the animals standing on each other’s shoulders portrays social and environmental harmony, enjoying the fruits of the tree.

Four animals were trying to determine their seniority using the tree as a reference.

  • The Elephant's claims - The tree was huge when he was young.
  • The Monkey's claims - The tree was young when he was small.
  • The Hare's claims - Saw the tree as a sapling when young.
  • The Partridge's claims - Excreted the seed that bears the tree. Thus became the most seniority animal despite its sheer size, strength, and power.


Moral of the Illustration

At no circumstances is hierarchy a mean to determine one's worth and prestige. But be respected for their experience because their maturity of age is the sign of experiences. However, in the context of religious life, it is determined by the number of years ordained as a monk. 

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