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First Wednesday Luncheon: Art and Culture in Bhutan

  • Echo Lake Country Club 515 Springfield Avenue Westfield, NJ, 07090 United States (map)

As part of the Westfield Historical Society’s First Wednesday Luncheon series, Prof. Gabrielle Yabblonsky will present a talk on the Art and Culture in Bhutan. The event will begin at 12PM at the Echo Lake Country Club, located at 515 Springfield Avenue, Westfield.

Bhutan is a landlocked country of about 750,000 people in the Eastern Himalayas between India and Tibet. Bhutan’s lower elevations are home to indigenous Indo-Mongoloid tribes and recent Nepalese immigrants; and its higher altitudes are settled by Tibetans, who immigrated into Bhutan’s three main regions of West, Central and East Bhutan starting around the 8th century, though the country was not unified until the reign of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal in the 17th century.  These regions are diverse in language, social customs and religions, including the ancient Tibetan Bon religion, Central Asian shamanism and Red Sect Buddhism. Bhutan’s religious diversity is reflected in its remarkable arts, said to number thirteen, which include weaving, sculpture, painting, woodcarving, and metalwork.

Gabrielle Yablonsky, an art historian and artist, undertook fieldwork in Bhutan in the 1970s at a time when foreigners were not permitted entry into Bhutan and Bhutanese customs were still well preserved. Her several years of fieldwork were supported by Fulbright and Ford Foundation grants; and her collateral research in Nepal and the Indian Himalayas was sponsored by a Guggenheim Fellowship. Subsequently, she traveled in Tibet, Western China and Central Asia. In addition to her PhD studies at UCLA, she holds an MA from Yale University, an MFA from Boston University and a BA from Bryn Mawr College. She has taught at the University of Texas, Austin; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Oregon, and has published articles on cloth and shamanism in Bhutan, on Bhutanese sculpture, and on the murals of the Tibetan Book of the Dead adorning an obscure Tibetan temple she discovered in 2002.

Those wishing to attend the luncheon may make a reservation by calling or emailing Carol at 908-654-1794; Payment must be received by noon Friday, April 27th, 2018. The luncheon fee of $35 (WHS members) or $40 (non-members) includes a three-course meal, coffee/tea, and gratuity. The luncheon fee may be mailed to Westfield Historical Society, P.O. Box 613, Westfield, NJ  07091; or paid online at Westfield Historical Society memberships will also be available at the luncheon.

Echo Lake Country Club is at 515 Springfield Ave, Westfield, NJ. For Echo Lake County Club dress code information, visit: