Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bhutan on the mall

carvings of the 4 sacred animals

monks as prince on horse with protective animals

Friday I had the pleasure of going to the National Mall or the annual Smithsonian Folk Life Festival with my guy Keith and friends Bob and Doug to see the exotic artists from Bhutan. It was HOT and lucky for us a bit of a breeze and then a storm came and kept the temperatures down. This festival is always just about the hottest time of year near the 4th of July celebrations. It is a delightful addition to my year as a way to travel without going further than downtown and see things I wouldn't see even if I were in the land they come from. Bhutan is the big exotic section of three that are part of this year's celebration of culture and the arts and industries. We had a great time watching dancers and musicians perform. I have a video clip below and photos to show. After our meal of Bhutanese spicy foods we went to the show tent and caught part of several performances by monks and national dancers and singers. I thought the monks had the best costumes and dances which I show you here. Then we went inside the Sackler Asian Museum due to rain and thunder storms for an hour. Then back outside to see the artisans at work in the tents where they demonstrate there labors. This festival is held down by the Castle Building of the Smithsonian away from the area that is the test lawn site, I mentioned in my last post, much closer to the Capitol building. The Bhutanese food was great this year and later some Texas-Vietnamese was equally delicious. The artists were very talented and many spoke good English so they could describe what they were doing and what it means to them. In this first video clip you see four monks in costumes with animal masks on their heads dancing around to cymbals and long horns. The fifth dancer is a prince or king mounted on horse back seen in the photos above. 
I have a so many pictures I will load them on flicker and let you see them there. Click here to see my Bhutan photo set on Flicker
If you can go to the National Mall this week or next don't miss this group of artists but be sure to take a handkerchief to wipe your brow and a fan to cool you as you sit and watch in the shade these delights from half way around the world. The flight from New Delhi was 17 hours one presenter told me. That was after a long trip from Bhutan to New Delhi by bus. She also told us she comes from a country that is 70% covered in forests and that she didn't expect to see trees in Washington DC but she was pleased to find them shading her tents. 

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