Following the Art Scene in Bhutan By Aine Carey
The Art of History
The History of Bhutan
Karma Phuntsho’s History of Bhutan seems incredibly foreboding at first glance, much like the history of the country and region it tackles. The author writes; “setting about to write the first complete history of one’s own country in a foreigner language is as stupendous a task as making history itself”. Indeed, and add to that the epic nature of the history of Bhutan, “The History of Bhutan” by Karma Phuntsho is nothing short of a Terma. Karma Phuntsho skillfully makes a complex comprehensive history very accessible to modern readers at a very important time in Bhutan’s history. Of all the contributions to the arts in Bhutan at this time, The History of Bhutan ranks at the head of the pack for me. This is not a dry record of facts and dates; rather this is a cohesive lyrical journey into a hidden land that had not been accessible to the outside world until very recently. It is not a sugarcoated attempt to engender a “happy” history. Rather it is an incredibly moving account of a nations enlightened destiny, epic historical characters and the force of fate seen and unseen.
This book not only allows readers to enter into Bhutan’s epic history, it opens a deep well of inspiration for modern story tellers to draw from, with very rich characters
and epic situations. While reading The History of Bhutan, I was transported into a vivid portrayal of a fascinating world that stirred my imagination and awakened deep collective memories. It harkened to the almost mythological world of my own Celtic ancestors, the High Kings of Tara and the ancient isle of Avalon in the British Isles.
It generously allowed me access to a Bey¬yal and at the same time it helped me to understand and appreciate, on a much deeper level, the great privilege I have of being able to, in my own way, be a small part of this countries collective history.
At this time when the conversation on every ones lips seems to be the gap between the preservation of the culture and the questioning of what makes one “Bhutanese”, Karma Phuntsho gives us a very solid foundation to begin the quest. He is a bard of the highest order lyrically weaving a tale about human nature meeting divine nature and the quest for enlightenment, through real characters and historical events that continue to unfold into this modern era.