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The Palace of the Deib Rajah at Tassisudon

The Palace of the Deib Rajah at Tassisudon

Engraver: Daniell, William (1769-1837)

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1813

Shelfmark: X655(3)

Item number: plate 3

Genre: Print

This engraving by William Daniell was made from an original drawing by Samuel Davis and became plate 3 in their book, 'Views in Bootan'.

The Bhutanese system of administration was established by Ngawang Namgyal, a monk of the Drukpa sect, who had fled Tibet in 1616. He united the chieftains of Bhutan, who had hitherto ruled independent principalities as Debs or Rajas. Taking the title of Shabdrung, he established a series of fortresses, or Dzongs, in Bhutan's valleys, seats of both temporal and spiritual power.

Tashicho Dzong, the fortress of the Deb in the Thimpu valley, was one of the most stately. On the hill to the left in Davis' sketch is the Deb's villa. Near the Thimphu river is seen a Buddhist chorten (temple). Bhutan held access to important passes deep into the Himalayas. Captain Turner's group, of which Davies was a member, arrived here on the eighth stage of their journey to Tibet. To them, "this edifice and clusters of houses and well-cultivated land produced a favourable contrast to the wild and solitary aspect of the country through which the embassy had advanced."

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