The Magnificent Art of Bronze Casting

Lugzo is the traditional art of bronze casting. Examples include religious statues and icons, sertog or religious temple pinnacles, and other ornamental facades for temples and monasteries in bronze. This craft is practiced by only a handful of artisans in the country today and was introduced by visiting Newari craftsmen from Nepal invited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century. The visiting Newari artisans taught the local Bhutanese who first learned to cast bronze statues and religious artifacts, such as bells and bowls.

Casting involves a complex process, and Bhutanese artisans usually use either earth, sand or wax to set the initial moulds and forms. Bronze was commonly used to cast containers such as cups, urns and vases and later molded into weapons and armor including axes, helmets, knives, swords and shields.

The Buddha Dordenma statue at overlooking the city from Kuenselphodrang hill in Thimphu and the smaller 100,000 Buddha statues housed in the temple that serves as the giant Buddha’s seat are both cast in bronze and gilded in gold.

Lugzo (Bronze casting)
Lugzo (Bronze casting)