ICH Inventory and Database

  1. Development of Database and Documentation of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) elements

The research division/section of the NLAB has started carrying out research and documentation of ICH elements across all districts of the country to help preserve it. The researched and documented heritages will be made online in various forms such as document, image, video and audio formats for all the internet users. The internet users will not only find the cultural element and its description but will also find the location details of the element including village, block, and district. Furthermore, the users will have access to the researched information on the extinct culture as well.

The above online information will not only help the Department of Culture  maintain the records of the cultures in Bhutan but will certainly help national and international anthropologists/researchers to find information on the specific cultures of Bhutan without much difficulty. Besides, this online database will provide a platform for fellow citizens to learn and understand their culture better. In this web-based database, the researched data are categorized under 7 domains and it will be further divided into categories, genres and elements based on the uniqueness and characteristics of the culture.

The internet users can search for elements based on dzongkhag (district), Gewog (block), domain, or simply by typing the element name or keyword(s) in the textbox of Basic Search. The database has already being developed by local software designer. The provisional database is available at www.bhutanculture.bt 

2. Compilation of the National Inventory of ICH Elements of Bhutan

The Royal Government of Bhutan ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) on 12th October 2005.The NLAB, as a leading Focal agency in carrying out the safeguarding of ICH of Bhutan,  aspires to further strengthen, promote and preserve ICH of Bhutan. The NLAB drafted an inventory of nationally important ICH elements in Bhutan, as one of the initial safeguarding measures of ICH.

Following are few highlights about the Draft National Inventory of ICH Elements of Bhutan:

  • As the title suggests, this “Draft National Inventory of ICH Elements of Bhutan” is an attempt to recognize the diversity of Bhutanese culture, and aims to raise awareness about various ICH elements in Bhutan.
  • This national inventory is a work in progress and may be considered as a draft version. The NLAB endeavours to update it regularly. Thus, it welcomes suggestions/contributions/amendments to the present content from stakeholders and experts concerned with different ICH practices.
  • Currently, the Draft National Inventory of ICH Elements of Bhutan consists of 249 numbers of ICH elements. These numbers of ICH elements in Bhutan have been thoroughly researched and documented in detail by the various authors and stakeholders.
  • The inventory could function as a tentative list for any potential inscriptions on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.