Carving (parzo)

It includes slate carving, stone carving and woodcarving, the latter being the most practiced.

While stone-carving is hardly practiced in Bhutan except prayers on rocks, bas-relief slate carvings of deities or of mantras were widely used on mani-walls, chortens and round the dzongs central towers.

Although ancient masks were sometimes made of papier maché, it was a time consuming technique, which has been abandoned. Masks today are made in wood, mostly blue pine, and then painted. They represent the different deities appearing in the mask dances, as well as the atsara (jester).

Wood carving for printing purposes, called xylography, is extremely important and requires a great dexterity as well as a properly oiled woodblock. Woodcarving is also done on windows, pillars, and capitals and is one of the arts where Bhutanese excel with very simple tools.