Movable Culture Act of Bhutan, 2005

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Movable Cultural Property Act of Bhutan 2005 _English version_

THE MOVABLE CULTURAL PROPERTY
ACT OF BHUTAN, 2005

1

CONTENTS:

THE MOVEABLE CULTURAL PROPERTY ACT OF BHUTAN, 2005

PREAMBLE….………………………………………….……………........………….4

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS …..…………… ...…………………........…….……5

Title,Commencement and Extent:..….……….. ……….………………......…..……5

Overriding Effect:………………………..………………………………….......……5

CHAPTER II

VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES OWNED BY ZHUNG DRATSHA NG
AND RABDEY…… ……………………….……….……………………....…….…5

Registration and Management:…………………………...……………….....……….5

Handing over during the change of a Caretaker:…….... ………………....……......6

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:…………..………......…….6

Shortage in the number of Non-Valuable Cultural Prope ties:….……….…......…….6

Handing over of damaged/defective Cultural Property:…….…..……….….....…….6

Updating of a Thram:………………………...…………………….……....…..…….6

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:……………………. ……………………....…..…….7

Periodic Investigation:…………………………..….……………….…….....……....7

Adhoc Investigation:…………………………….………………..….……....……...7

Offer of Zung:…………………………………….………………….……....……...7

Reports:……………………………………………….……………….……....….…8

Prohibition on photographing Cultural Properties:…….………………...……....…..8

Conservation and Security:………………………………………………...…...…...8

Exhibition outside the Country:………………………….………………....….……9

CHAPTER III

VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES OWNED BY THE

GOVERNMENT………………………………………………………… ..….…..10

2

Registration and Management:………………. …………………………….....….10

Procurement of Cultural Properties:………. ……………………………......…….10

Research and taking Photographs:………….……………………………….....……10

Conservation and Security:…………………. …...…………………….....……....11

Exhibition outside the Country:…………….……………………………….....……11

Handing Over:………...…………………….………………………………....……12

CHAPTER IV

VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES OWNED BY LATRUEL OR A

COMMUNITY…………………………………………………………… ....…….12

Registration and Management:……………. ……………………………....…….12

Handing Over during the change of Caretaker:…….……………………...………12

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:…….…………....……….12

Shortage in the number of non-valuable Cultural Prope ties:….……….....………..13

Handing over of defective Cultural Property:……………………………....……...13

Updating of Thram:………………………………………………….…..…..……..13

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:………………………………………..……...….……13

Periodic Investigation:…………………………………..………………...…….….14

Adhoc Investigation:……………………………………..………………..…….…14

Offer of Zung:……………………………………………..……………..………...14

Photographing of Valuable Properties:…………………….. …………...……….14

Conservation and Security:…………………………………..……………..………14

Exhibition outside the country:………………………………..…………..………..15

CHAPTER V

PRIVATELY OWNED VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES….…..…. 16

Registration and Management:……………….. .……………………...……….…16

Penalties for non-registration:…………………..……………………...…………....16

3

Adhoc Investigation:……………………………….………………….……………16

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:.……………….....……….17

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:……………………………. …………….....……….17

Photographing Cultural Properties:……………………….. ……..…….....………17

Offer of Zung:………………………………………………..………...…....……...17

Conservation and Security:………………………………….…………....………18

Exhibition outside the Country:………………………………………....………..18

CHAPTER VI

GENERAL MANAGEMENT……………………………………… .......………..19

Powers of Identifying Cultural Properties:…………………………….......……..19

Change and Deletion in a Thram:……………………………………….....…...……19

Report on Loss and Investigation:……………………………………….....……..…20

Reward for the recovery of stolen Valuable Cultural Property:…………….....…….20

Seizure of Cultural Properties:…………………………………………….....…….…21

Prohibition on taking Valuable Cultural Properties outside the country:…….....……21

Sale and Export of Non-Valuable Cultural Property:…… ………………….....….21

Bhutanese Cultural Properties outside the country:…… ……………….…....……22

Briefing by Guides to their foreign guests:……………………………….….....……22

Valuable Cultural properties discovered from below ground:…………….....………22

Fine and Penalties:…………………………………………………….….…....…….22

Power to make rules and regulations:……………………………….….....…………23

Authoritative Text:………………………………………………….….....…………23

Amendments:……………………………………………………….….....…………23

Definitions:……………………………………………………….…….....………...23

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PREAMBLE

Movable Cultural Property forms a significant and a core component of Bhutan's
immensely rich and ancient heritage. They are the material representations of the
aspirations, achievements and expressions over manycenturies of not only many
renowned spiritual and historical figures but also of ordinary people like local
artisans and craftspeople. The conservation and safegu rding of movable Cultural
Property is thus imperative not just as representatio s of the past but also to
ensure that the quality of life of the Bhutanese peopl is also as rich or even
richer in the future.

This Act to conserve and protect the Movable Cultura Property of Bhutan is
therefore enacted in the interest of the people of Bhutan and the World at large
by the National Assembly of Bhutan, at its 84th Session, on the Twenty Eighth
Day of the Ninth Month of the Wood Bird Year corresponding to the 29th of
November 2005.

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CHAPTER I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS

Title, Commencement and Extent:
1. (a) This Act shall be called “The Moveable Cultural Property Act of

Bhutan, 2005”.

(b) This Act shall come into force on the Twenty Eighth Day of the
Ninth Month of the Wood Bird Year corresponding to the 29th of
November 2005, as passed by the National Assembly of Bhutan as
follows:

(c) This Act shall apply to the whole of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Overriding Effect:
2. From the date of passing of this Act, this Act shall have an overriding

effect over all Government Circulars and Kashos relating to old Ten-Sums
and Cultural Properties.

CHAPTER II
VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES

OWNED BY ZHUNG DRATSHANG AND RABDEY

Registration and Management:
3. (a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the

representatives of the Zhung Dratshang, Rabdey and the Department
of Culture shall jointly list and register Thrams of all the Kusung
Thukten and Cultural Properties present in Dzongs and Lhakhangs.
Photographs and documentation of these Cultural Properties shall
also be maintained.

(b) The original copy of a Thram shall be maintained by the Zhung
Dratshang and the Department of Culture. A copy of this Thram
shall also be kept with the Lhakhang concerned.

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Handing over during the change of a Caretaker:
4. At the end of the tenure of an existing Caretaker or Kangjupa, the handing

over of the Cultural Properties of Dzongs, Lhakhangs or Goendeys to a
new Caretaker or Kangjupa by the outgoing Caretaker shall be done in the
presence of representatives from the Z ung Dratshang and Rabdey.

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:
5. The representatives of the Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey shall investigate

and handle any shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties, at
the time of the handing over process. Any matter which cannot be resolved
shall be submitted to the Department of Culture which shall deal with it in
accordance with Government rules. If necessary, the Department of
Culture and the representatives from the Z ung Dratshang or Rabdey shall
refer and justify the case along with the suspected offender to the Police
and the Royal Court of Justice.

Shortage in the number of Non-Valuable Cultural Properties:

6. For any shortage in the number of Non-Valuable Cultural Properties during

the handing over process, the representatives of Zhung Dratshang and
Rabdey shall make the person responsible; replace the missing property
within three to six months. This replacement must be of the same material,
size, appearance and shape of the original object that is missing. After the
replacement has been made, a report must be submitted to the Zhung
Dratshang and the Department of Culture.

Handing over of damaged/defective Cultural Property:
7. If it has been stated in the Thram that any Cultural Property belonging to a

Lhakhang is damaged or defective, it shall be handed over accordingly.
Any unrecorded damages that have developed naturally due to age shall be
examined and considered by the representatives. However, if there is new
damage due to negligence, the object shall be repaired nd replaced by the
Caretaker in the same condition as that of the conditi noted in the Thram.

Updating of a Thram:
8. The representatives of the handing over process shall make a detailed list

of the properties and shall make additional Thrams for any newly acquired

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property offered by devotees at the time of the handing over process.
Copies of these Thrams shall be submitted to the Zhung Dratshang,
Rabdey and the Department of Culture. However, if it is found that the
Caretaker, for personal gains, has deliberately hidden and failed to reveal
any new acquisitions that are required to be registred, the Caretaker shall
be penalised accordingly.

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:
9. Cultural Property registered in a Thram shall not be sold, used for personal

means, exchanged, gifted or damaged. The Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey
in consultation with the community concerned shall decide on any
exchange and grant among Dzongs and Lhakhangs of any Tensum and
other Cultural Property. However, in the case of Valuable Cultural
Properties, this shall be done in accordance with the approval of the
Dratshang Lhentshog. Accordingly a copy of the order issued for the
transfer of Thram shall be given to the Department of Culture.

Periodic Investigation:
10. Every three to five years, the Zhung Dratshang, Rabdey and the

Department of Culture shall conduct a joint investigation of the condition
of Valuable Cultural Properties to ascertain whether conditions of these
properties are still in accordance with their Thrams. A report of this
investigation shall be submitted by the investigating team to the Dratshang
Lhentshog and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.

Adhoc Investigation:
11. In the case where there are concerns that Cultural Properties in Dzongs and

Lhakhangs have been stolen, exchanged or sold outside, the Dratshang
Lhentshog and the Department of Culture shall conduct a joint
investigation at any time.

Offer of Zung:
12. In the case where Cultural Property registered in a Thr m has to be offered

as Zung for Ten, it may be done in accordance with the approval of the
Dratshang Lhentshog. The offering shall be made in the presence of the
representatives from the Department of Culture. Accordingly, a notice shall

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be given to the Department of Culture for the purpose of making
subsequent changes in the Thram. Until the approval is received from the
Dratshang Lhentshog, the personnel dealing with the Cultural Property at
the Zhung Dratshang, Rabdey and the Department of Culture shall not
change the Thram.

Reports:
13. A copy of all reports relating to Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 under Chapter

II shall be submitted to the Department of Culture.

Prohibition on photographing Cultural Properties:
14. Without prior permission from the Dratshang Lhentshog, photographing,

permitting people to view and handle, filming or carying out research on,
etc. of Cultural Properties are prohibited.

Conservation and Security:
15. (a) All Cultural Property in Lhakhangs, even those which are damaged

due to age, shall be conserved.
(b) The Caretaker, Kanjupa or any other person shall not carry out any

conservation works on Cultural Property in Lhakhangs without
appropriate approval.

(c) In order to prevent changes and damages to the original design,
colour, etc. of Cultural Properties when undertaking conservation,
the conservation works shall be carried out in accordance with the
policies of the Royal Government and with the approval of the
Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey. To facilitate this purpose, people
from the Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey shall be trained in the
conservation of Cultural Properties.

(d) Due to the complexity of works, if there is likelihood of changes and
damages to the original colour, appearance, etc. of Valuable Cultural
Property, experts from the Zhung Dratshang, Rabdey and the
Department of Culture shall jointly carry out the necessary
conservation works.

(e) After the completion of conservation works on an object, according
to the process mentioned in Section 15(d), the Dratshang Lhentshog

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and the Department of Culture shall accordingly make the necessary
changes in the Thram.

(f) In order to ensure that Cultural Property under the care of Zhung
Dratshang and Rabdey are conserved effectively and safely, the
Department of Culture shall propose plans and strategies and shall
train and make provisions for entitlements for the Caretakers of these
properties in appropriate methods of conservation, maintenance and
protection of these objects.

Exhibition outside the Country:
16. (a) When Cultural Properties covered under Section 59 of Chapter VI

are to be taken outside the country for an exhibition, the Ministry
concerned shall inform the Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey.

b) For these Cultural Properties, except for those very ra e Cultural
Properties which are automatically barred from being taken out of
Bhutan, a list containing the description of the objects and the
location from where they are to be collected for the exhibition must
be discussed among the bodies concerned.

c) The Zhung Dratshang, Rabdey and the Department of Culture shall
jointly maintain detailed documentation, along with dentification
marks, value, source and photographs of each property.

d) The person who is in charge of transferring Valuable Cultural
Properties from their original locations for an exhibition shall take all
necessary measures to prevent damages to the objects during the
transfer.

e) Similarly, the person who is in charge of transferring these Cultural
Properties shall also appropriately insure each and every object.

f) Since there are high risks involved with the transfer of valuable and
sacred religious items for exhibitions, experts in performing Soel-
choeth offerings from the Zhung Dratshang and Rabdey shall also
accompany the representatives of the Government in order to take
special care of objects that are sacred.

10

g) On the return of an object from an exhibition, the object shall be
transferred and restored to its relevant location only after the
verification of its condition in correspondence to the previous record
of its condition before the transfer of the object for the exhibition. A
report of this verification shall then be submitted to the Dratshang
Lhentshog and the Ministry concerned.

CHAPTER III

VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES OWNED BY THE
GOVERNMENT

Registration and Management:
17. In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, all Cultural

Properties and other objects in a Museum shall be documented with
photographs and registered by the Museum. A copy of this registration with
the documentation shall be submitted to the Departmen of Culture.

Procurement of Cultural Properties:
18. A Committee which has been authorised by the Government for the

procurement of Cultural Properties shall procure aft r careful verification
and discussions on whether the object is valuable and thus a historically
important Kusung Thugten and whether the price to be paid for this object
has been set according to the value of the object. In accordance with the
decision taken by this Procurement Committee, the Museum shall purchase
the property and subsequently document and register them.

Research and taking Photographs:
19. Carrying out research on and taking photographs of Government owned

Valuable Cultural Properties, are prohibited without prior approval from
the Department of Culture. Research on and taking photographs solely for
the purpose of dissemination of free information to educate the public can
be done with approval from the Museum.

11

Conservation and Security:
20. Depending upon its condition, if a Valuable Cultural Property in a Museum

has to be conserved, the conservation shall take place in accordance with
Government policies and shall be allowed only after thorough verification
by conservation experts as to whether it is necessary to carry out the
proposed conservation works . In order to keep the properties in the
museum safe and to protect them from damages after the conservation, the
properties shall be managed under the guidance and supervision of
conservation experts.

Exhibition outside the Country:
21. (a) To take any Cultural Property covered under S ction 59 of Chapter

VI outside the country for an exhibition, approval must be obtained
from the Ministry concerned.

(b) In accordance with the approval of the Ministry, the Museum shall
make a list of the Cultural Properties to be taken outside and
accordingly seek approval from the Department of Culture.

(c) The Museum and the Department of Culture shall jointly maintain
detailed documentation of each property, including dentification
marks, value, source and photographs of each object.

(d) The person who is responsible for transferring Cultura Properties for
an exhibition shall take appropriate measures to avoid damages to
these objects during transportation.

(e) Similarly, this person shall insure each object.

(f) Since there is high risk involved with transfer of Cultural Properties,
competent persons from the Government shall be sentwith the
objects to take care of them.

(g) On the return of an object from an exhibition, the condition of the
object shall be verified for damages in accordance with the previous
record of its condition before the transfer of the object for the
exhibition. A report of this verification shall then be submitted to the
Ministry.

12

Handing Over:
22. During the change of the Head of a Museum, all properties as per the

registered list shall be handed over accurately to the new Head.

CHAPTER IV
VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES

OWNED BY LATRUEL OR A COMMUNITY

Registration and Management:
23. (a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the

Department of Culture, representatives from the respective village
and the Head of the Goendeys shall jointly list and register Thrams of
all Kusung Thukten and other Cultural Property, be it old or new, in
Lhakhangs owned by Latruel or local Communities. Photographs
and documentation of these Cultural Properties shall also be
maintained.

(b) A copy of the Thram shall be maintained by the relevant Lhakhangs
and concerned Dzongkhag. The original copy shall be kept with the
Department of Culture.

Handing Over during the change of Caretaker:
24. At the end of the tenure of a Caretaker of Lhakhangs or Goendeys, the

handing over process of Cultural Properties shall be done in the presence of
representatives from the village, the Head of the Goendey and
representatives from the Dzongkhag. The copy of the handing over report
shall be submitted to the Department of Culture.

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:
25. During the time of the handing over process, if there are any shortages in

the number of Valuable Cultural Properties, this shall be investigated and
verified by the representative of the village, the H ad of Goendey and the
representative from the Dzongkhag. Accordingly as per the existing
regulations, they shall then refer the case to the Royal Bhutan Police for
further investigation. Further, the team must submit this information to the
Department of Culture.

13

Shortage in the number of non-valuable Cultural Properties:
26. During the time of the handing over process, if there are any shortages in

the number of Non- Valuable Cultural Properties, the representatives of the
village, the Goendey and the Dzongkhag shall order whoever is responsible
for the shortage to replace the missing property wihin three to six months.
This replacement must be of the same material, sizeappearance and shape
of the original object that is missing. A report of this shall be submitted to
the Department of Culture.

Handing over of defective Cultural Property:
27. If it has been stated in the Thram that a Cultural Property of a Lhakhang is

defective, it shall be handed over accordingly. Any u recorded defects that
have developed naturally shall be examined and considered by the
representatives. However, if there is new damage and deterioration,
directly due to negligence, it shall be repaired an replaced in the same
condition as that of the original by the person responsible.

Updating of Thram:
28. The representatives present during the handing over process shall make a

detailed list of properties and make new Thrams for any newly acquired
properties offered by devotees at the time of handing over. Copies of these
new Thrams shall be submitted to the Department of Culture. However, if
it is found that the Caretaker, for personal gains, has deliberately hidden
and failed to reveal any new acquisitions that are required to be registered,
the Caretaker shall be penalised accordingly.

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:
29. Any Cultural Property registered in a Thram shall not be sold, used for

personal needs, exchanged, gifted or damaged. Any exchange and grant of
Tensum and other properties among Lhakhangs shall be done with the
approval of the Department of Culture. The application for the change of
Thram shall be submitted for approval to the Department of Culture.

14

Periodic Investigation:
30. Every three to five years, the Department of Culture shall investigate all

Valuable Cultural Properties and submit their report t the Ministry of
Home and Cultural Affairs.

Adhoc Investigation:
31. In case there is concern that Cultural Property owned by a Latruel or public

Lhakhang has been lost, exchanged or sold, the Department of Culture may
conduct an investigation at any time.

Offer of Zung:
32. Where Cultural Property registered in a Thram has to be offered as Zung

for Ten, this can be decided by the community concerned or the Latruel.
However, the offering shall be made in the presence of representatives
from the Department of Culture and/or the Dzongkhag. Accordingly, a
report shall be sent to the Department of Culture for the purpose of
updating or changing the corresponding Thram.

Photographing of Valuable Properties:
33. Without prior approval from the Department of Culture, photographing,

filming, carrying out research on or permitting a person to view or handle
Valuable Cultural Properties is prohibited.

Conservation and Security:
34. (a) The Kongyer and Caretakers shall conduct checks from time to time

whether all Cultural Properties are in place. Similarly people living
near the Lhakhang shall render help when necessary for safeguarding
Cultural Properties.

(b) Conservation works on Cultural Properties shall not be carried out
without approval from the Department of Culture.

(c) Conservation works shall not be approved until the id ntity and
qualification of the conservator identified to carry out the work have
been verified and the conservation proposal has been examined and
found to be appropriate.

15

(d) Valuable Cultural Property, belonging to any person, shall be
conserved by the person with the help of the Departmen of Culture.

(e) Regardless of who carries out conservation works on an object, the
Department of Culture shall maintain a keep a record f this
conservation.

(f) In order to ensure that Cultural Property under the care of Latruel
and Community Lhakhangs are conserved effectively and safely, the
Department of Culture shall propose plans and strategies and shall
train the Caretakers of these properties in appropriate methods of
conservation, maintenance and safeguarding of theseobjects.

Exhibition outside the country:
35. (a) For the transfer of Cultural Properties covered under Section 59 of

Chapter VI for an exhibition, approval must be obtained from the
Ministry concerned.

(b) If the Department of Culture wishes to use Cultural Property owned
by Latruel or community Lhakhangs for an exhibition in accordance
with the approval of the Ministry, the Department shall make a list of
Cultural Properties to be taken and obtain approval from the
Ministry.

(c) The Department of Culture shall maintain detaild documentation of
each property to be used for an exhibition, including identification
marks, value, source and photographs of each object.

(d) The person who is responsible for transferring Cultural Properties for
an exhibition shall take appropriate measures to avoid damages to
these objects during transportation.

(e) Further, the person shall insure each object.

(f) Since there is high risk involved with exhibition items, competent
people from the Department of Culture shall be sent with the
properties to take care of them.

(g) On the return of an object from an exhibition, the condition of the
object shall be verified by the Department of Culture for damages in
accordance with the previous record of its condition before the

16

transfer of the object for the exhibition. A report f this verification
shall then be submitted to the concerned Ministry.

CHAPTER V
PRIVATELY OWNED VALUABLE CULTURAL PROPERTIES

Registration and Management:
36. (a) In accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act, the

Department of Culture shall list and register Th ams of all Valuable
Cultural Properties belonging to a private Lhakhang, altar or
exhibition. Photographs and records of the Cultural Properties shall
also be maintained.

(b) A copy of the Thram shall be kept with the owner and the concerned
Dzongkhag. The original Thram shall be kept with the Department of
Culture.

Penalties for non-registration:
37. If the Government becomes aware of Cultural Properties that have been

concealed to avoid registration of these objects during the time of
registration, penalties shall be imposed.

Adhoc Investigation:
38. (a) For objects belonging to a private Lhakhang, altar or exhibition, as

the handing over process does not take place, a representative from
the village and the Dzongkhag Administration shall therefore
conduct an investigation every three years on the condition of
Valuable Cultural Properties against the corresponding Thram. A
report of this investigation shall be submitted to the Department of
Culture.

(b) In case there is any concern that Cultural Property in a private
Lhakhang, altar or exhibition hall has been lost, exchanged or sold
outside, the representative of the village and the Dzongkhag
Administration may conduct investigations at any time and report
accordingly to the Department of Culture. The Department of

17

Culture may also conduct investigations on the instruction of the
Ministry.

Shortage in the number of Valuable Cultural Properties:
39. If Valuable Cultural Properties are found to be missing during the

investigation, the matter shall be forwarded to the Royal Bhutan Police
for further investigation.

Sale, Purchase and Transfer:
40. (a) Any Cultural Property registered in the Thram may be sold,

exchanged, inherited, gifted and transferred to other locations within
the country. However, the matter shall be reported to the Department
of Culture through the respective Dzongkhag within one month to
update the corresponding Thram. The new owner shall obtain and
maintain a copy of the new Thram.

(b) When a person wants to sell a privately owned Valuable Cultural
Property to the Government, he or she shall contact the Department
of Culture. The Cultural Properties Procurement Committee shall
purchase the object at the rate fixed by the Committee after verifying
the value of the object. The property purchased shall then be handed
over as per the decision of the Government. Subsequently the
corresponding Thram shall be updated or changed accordingly.

Photographing Cultural Properties:
41. Except for the owners, without prior permission from the Dpartment of

Culture, photographing, filming and carrying out research on Cultural
Properties are prohibited.

Offer of Zung:
42. A Valuable Cultural Property registered in the Thram may be offered as

Zung for Ten as per the wishes of the owner. However, the offering shall
be made in the presence of the representative from the village and
Dzongkhag. Accordingly, a report shall be sent to the Department of
Culture to update or change the corresponding Thram.

18

Conservation and Security:
43. (a) The owner and the Caretaker shall conduct regular checks to ensur

that all Cultural Properties are secure and in place. People living near

the Lhakhang shall render help when necessary for safeguarding the

Cultural Properties.

(b) Conservation works on Cultural Properties shall not be carried out
without approval from the Department of Culture.

(c) Conservation works shall not be approved until the identity and
qualification of the conservator identified to carry out the work, have
been verified and the conservation proposal has been examined and
found to be appropriate.

(d) If Cultural Property belonging to any person is a valuable one, he
shall conserve it with the help of the Department of Culture.

(e) Regardless of who carries out conservation works n an object, the
Department of Culture shall maintain and keep a record of this
conservation.

(f) In order to ensure that Cultural Property are conserved effectively
and safely, the Department of Culture shall propose plans and
strategies and shall also train the Caretakers of these properties in
appropriate methods of conservation, maintenance and s feguarding
of these objects.

Exhibition outside the Country:
44. (a) Approval must be obtained from the Ministry concerned to take

Cultural Properties covered under Section 59 of Chapter VI outside
the country for an exhibition.

(b) If the Department of Culture wishes to use a Cultura Property for an
exhibition, they shall seek approval for this use from the owner of
the property. Once approval is granted by the respective owners, the
Department shall make a list of Cultural Properties o be taken for
the exhibition and shall seek approval from the Ministry.

19

(c) The Department of Culture shall maintain detailed documentation of
each property to be used for an exhibition, including identification
marks, value, source and photographs of each property.

(d) Appropriate measures to avoid damages during transportation must
be taken by the Department.

(e) Similarly the person who takes these properties outide the country
shall insure each property.

(f) Since there is high risk involved with the transfer of exhibition items,
competent people from the Department of Culture shall be sent with
the objects to take care of them.

(g) On the return of an object from an exhibition, the condition of the
object shall be verified by the Department of Culture for damages in
accordance with the previous record of its condition before the
transfer of the object for the exhibition. A report f this verification
shall then be submitted to the concerned Ministry.

CHAPTER VI
GENERAL MANAGEMENT

Powers of Identifying Cultural Properties:
45. (a) The Department of Culture is the final authority to identify Tensum

and Cultural Properties.

(b) When the Department of Culture and the Geduen Tensum
representatives are unable to make a decision, the Cultural Properties
Verification Committee authorised by the Government shall make
the decision.

(c) In order to identify Valuable Cultural Property correctly, relevant
research will be conducted, relevant documents shall be collected
and appropriate trainings shall be given to those responsible for the
documentation and identification of Cultural Properties.

Change and Deletion in a Thram:
46. (a) Except for those properties owned by the Z ung Dratshang and

Rabdey, once the Thram has been prepared and certified, no one

20

shall have the authority to transfer, revise or change the contents of a
Thram without the approval from the Department of Culture.

(b) When Cultural Properties are not recoverable due to loss or theft and
subsequently these objects needs to be deleted from a Thram, this
can be carried out only in accordance with a specific Kasho from the
relevant Ministry or a decision of a Court of Law in Bhutan.

Report on Loss and Investigation:
47. (a) In the event of the loss of Cultural Property, depending on the

distance of the location, this loss shall be reported to the Police,
Dungkhag and Dzongkhag by the Gup, Chimi, Mangmi, Tshogpa or
owner. The Police, Dungkhag and Dzongkhag shall not o ly send a
copy of this report to the Department of Culture but shall also
circulate information and letters to the Department of Revenue and
Customs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prevent the property
from being taken outside the country.

(b) During the investigation by the Police, the relevant Thram and the
photographs of the stolen object shall be collected from the
Department of Culture to aid in the search of this stolen Cultural
Property and to ensure that a report is given to all concerned as soon
as possible.

(c) The Department of Culture in consultation with the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs shall, in accordance with UNESCO and INTERPOL
systems, seek help to search and return Cultural Properties taken
outside the country without appropriate approval.

Reward for the recovery of stolen Valuable Cultural Property:
48. (a) A person whose report leads to the recovry of stolen Valuable

Cultural Property shall be rewarded, as a token of appreciation by the
police, with the amount equivalent to 25% of the value of the
Cultural Property recovered.

(b) The concerned authority shall not disclose the name of the informant.

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Seizure of Cultural Properties:
49. The Department of Customs, the Royal Bhutan Police and any others shall

immediately notify the concerned bodies and owners of any seizures made
of stolen or lost Cultural Properties. Till the rightful owners come forward,
the object shall be kept with the Department of Culture. After a lapse of
one hundred and eight days, if the object is not claimed, the Cultural
Property shall be taken over by the Government and the Thram shall be
transferred accordingly. Where the owner comes forward, within the
above-specified period, the Cultural Property shall be handed over to the
owner after verification by the Department of Culture, the Royal Bhutan
Police and the concerned Dzongkhag.

Prohibition on taking Valuable Cultural Properties outside the country:
50. No person shall take any Valuable Cultural Prope ty mentioned under

Section 59 of Chapter VI of this Act outside the country without
appropriate approval.

Sale and Export of Non-Valuable Cultural Property:
51. (a) Other than the Cultural Properties mentioned under Section 59 of

Chapter VI, any other old Tensum, ritual objects and handicrafts may
be sold or taken outside the country. The Departmen of Culture
shall verify that these objects to be taken outside the country are not
prohibited in accordance with Section 59 of Chapter VI, and shall
accordingly certify these permissible objects with a written permit
and a seal.

(b) The Bhutan Border Check-Post, the Bhutan Customs and the Royal

Bhutan Police shall permit those non valuable Cultura Properties to
be taken out of the country only after thoroughly examining the
written permit and seal issued by the Department of Culture against
the object to be taken out.

(c) In case there is no written permit and seal of the Department of
Culture on the old object and/or the seal or permit are found to be
fakes, the Cultural Property shall be seized by the B utan Border

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Check-Post or the Bhutan Customs or Royal Bhutan Police. This

object shall then be immediately sent to the Department of Culture.

(d) During the investigation by the Department of Culture, if the
property received from Customs or the Police is found to be
protected under Section 59 of this Act, the case shall t en be
forwarded to the Royal Court of Justice. If the object is found to be
an object not protected under this Act, it shall then be given back to
the rightful owner after verification by the Department of Culture.

Bhutanese Cultural Properties outside the country:
52. (a) Should any Valuable Cultural Property reach foreign countries either

through theft or sale or as a gift by irresponsible people, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs along with the Royal Bhutan Police and other
relevant Ministries shall negotiate with those countries to recover
these protected properties.

(b) The lost Cultural Properties, when recovered from any other country,
shall be verified in accordance with the Lhakhang and Thram and
sent back to its rightful place.

Briefing by Guides to their foreign guests:
53. Considering that foreign visitors are often notfamiliar with the Cultural

Property Act of Bhutan, it is the legal responsibility of the concerned
agency/host/guide to brief the visitor on the Act where applicable.

Valuable Cultural properties discovered from below ground:
54. If any items considered to be Valuable Cultural Prope ty, as mentioned

under Section 59, are discovered during the construction of roads or
buildings or any other related works, this discovery shall be immediately
reported to the Department of Culture through the concerned Dzongkhag.

Fine and Penalties:
55. (a) In case of any violation of Sections 5, 8, 9, 12, 14 and 16 of Chapter

II, Sections 19, 21 and 22 of Chapter III, Sections 25, 28, 29, 32, 33
and 35 of Chapter IV, Sections 37, 39, 41, 42 and 44 of Chapter V

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and Sections 46, 47, 48, 50 and 51 of Chapter VI, penalties shall be
imposed in accordance with the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004.

(b) The violation of other Sections of this Act shall be dealt with in
accordance with other relevant Acts.

Power to make rules and regulations:
56. The Ministry concerned shall have the power to make rul s and regulations

in accordance with this Act.

Authoritative Text:
57. In any instance where differences arise between th Dzongkhag and

English texts, the Dzongkha text shall prevail.

Amendments:

58. The National Parliament of Bhutan may make any amendment to this Act if

there is a need to do so.

Definitions:
59. (a) “Valuable Cultural Properties” means not only the objects used

for religious offerings and worship but all movable objects which are the
expressions and testimony of human creation or are of the evolution of
nature which are of artistic, historical, cultural, religious, social,
archaeological or technical value and interest as described below:

(i) “ Kuten” includes all images including images of Buddhas,
Bodhisattvas and other deities made from medicinal clay, zikhim,
bronze, gold, silver, brass or any other materials and also on items
such as Kuthangs, wall paintings, Thongdroels, Thangkas, and
needlework or embroidered tapestry.

(ii) “ Sungten” includes manuscripts such as Kanjur, Tenjur, Sungbum,
Namthar and Kabum which are written in gold, silver, vermilion,
ordinary ink or shell, or craved on stone. This also includes cloth
wrappers, wooden plates (lekshing), belts (lekthag), belt hooks
(chabtse), dongdar, scriptures in book form bound by gotsem

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(Stitched hardbound), prayer flags (dar-par) and amulets (sungwa
tagdrol).

(iii) “ Thugten” includes the Eight Buddha stupas (Decheg Choeten
Gyad) and all other kinds of stupas made of any materials.

(iv) “Ritual objects and Choezes” includes ritual objects made of gold,
silver and copper or of any other materials.

The above mentioned Ku Sung Thugten and ritual objects that are 100 or
over 100 years old are to be considered as Valuable Cu tural Property.
Those objects made and consecrated by renowned religious figures and
those created by famous artisans and crafts people are also considered
Valuable Cultural properties irrespective of age.

(v) “Ornaments” includes ornaments for Kusung Thugten of Lhakhangs
and jewellery made of gold, silver, copper, cats-eye, and coral,
turquoise, pearl, precious stone, sapphire, diamond, yster, etc, and
such other ornaments of historic interest which areconsidered
valuable irrespective of age.

(vi) “Ritual objects made from animal parts” includes objects made
from elephant tusk, rhino horn, animal skin and bones which are of
historical significance are considered valuable irrspective of age.

(vii) “Weapons” includes arrows, spears, fire lock guns, long swords,
swords, shields, helmets, short guns, rifles and armou which are
more than 100 years old. It also includes other weapons of historical
significance that are considered valuable irrespectiv of age.

(viii) “Archaeological materials and fossils” includes all movable items
of archaeological interest that have already been excavated or
discovered during excavations or explorations. This includes fossils
and namchag (thunder bolt).

(ix) “Furniture, carpets and dress” includes all furniture, carpets and
costumes which are more than 100 years old and are of historic
value.

(x) “Architectural heritage” includes wood or other valuable objects
resulting from the total dismemberment of architectural heritage that

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are over 100 years old and are considered of historical and
architectural value.

(xi) “General objects” includes objects of Zorig Chusum (the 13
traditional arts and crafts), kitchen accessories, agricultural
implements, musical instruments, coins and maps that are over 100
years old or are considered to have historical or artistic value.

(xii) “Rare objects” includes rare objects from within the country
regardless of how old they may be.

(xiii) “Objects obtained from outside the country” includes objects
obtained from outside the country which are over 100 years old and
which after reaching the Country are to be considere to have
historic value.

(b) “Valuable Cultural Properties owned by the Zhung Dratshang and
Rabdey” refers to Tensum and other related objects which were made
under the patronage of renowned spiritual and historical leaders such as
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Je Khenpos, succession of Monarchs, and
other notable people. These are the objects contained the Dzongs,
Goendeys and Lhakhangs whose sanctity has been managed and preserved
through the ages with religious rites and regular ritual offerings by the
Zhung Dratshang and Rabdeys.

(c) “Valuable Cultural Properties owned by the Government” includes all
Cultural Properties owned by the Government such as Ku Sung Thugten,
ritual objects and articles, weapons, bronze artefac s, textiles, costumes and
ornaments whether new or old, and general objects such as pots, utensils,
and agricultural implements kept in Government Museums.

(d) “Valuable Cultural Properties owned by Latruel or the Community”
includes Tensum, ritual objects and Cultural Properties in Community or
Latruel Lhakhangs and Goendeys which were built by renowned religious
leaders of Latruel lineages and/or by the general public and devotees with
their own wealth and labour and which are being managed and preserved
for religious rites and offerings.

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(e) “Privately Owned Valuable Cultural Properties” means Tensum and
Cultural Properties owned by private individuals, in a private Lhakhang
built by their forefathers through their own efforts and with their own
wealth, or those kept in a private altar or exhibition hall.

(f) “UNESCO” means United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization.

(g) “INTERPOL” means International Criminal Police Organization.

(h) “Kyner “means caretaker of the Cultural Properties in the Temple.