Calligraphy (yigzo)

Before woodblocks were introduced as a printing technique, probably in the 14th century, all the religious texts and official documents were written by hand. Calligraphy is therefore an ancient form of art and a scribe has to have six qualities in his writing: perfect shape, uniformity, legibility, speed, spelling and proportions.

In Bhutan there are different styles of scripts derived from the Tibetan script: uchen, umey but the most used is called jyuyig, an elegant cursive.

Also present are the ornamental scripts, such as the Lantsa and the Vartu, derived from Indian alphabets. Before writing on paper, which was expensive, scribes trained on wooden planks covered with chalk.