Man moulding miniature clay mask at National Institute for Zorig Chusum.

Jonathan Gregson

National Institute for Zorig Chusum

Top choice in Thimphu

This institute, commonly known as 'the painting school', operates four- to six-year courses that provide instruction in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts. Students specialise in painting (of both furniture and thangkas – painted religious pictures, usually on canvas), woodcarving (masks, statues, bowls), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or statue-making (clay). Students are well used to having visitors while they work and it's fine to take photos.

It's hard not to be impressed by the skill and discipline of the young students, and their work is sold at fair prices in the school showroom.

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