You are here: RAO Home > Travel > Bhutan > Overview > Topics > Sports > Archery in Bhutan > Tisps Search
Bhutan Information
Archery in Bhutan
Grafik Bhutan's Sports Archery
Tsips - indispensable to the game
Grafik Bhutan's Sports Archery
Bhutan Tourist Destinations
Grafik Grafik
Video Bhutan Videos
previous pageend
Tsips - indispensable to the game and inseparable from the archers
Archery Archery tournament
These faces, so revered or reviled, are those of Tsips - something like mediums who play the main part, more than the highest Karey hitter or even the Dhobjey one. It is them, after all, who made it all possible.

They are believed to have access to powers beyond mortal imagination. As for delivery, archers have mixed feelings about their prowess. Modern times and broad minds are also gradually, but determinedly, chipping away their credibility.

The Tsips, says an archer of many years from Changzamthog, who is known for nothing more than archery, have been around for as long as the game of archery has been.

They were, in fact, there even before archery was a game. In the old days, they guided arrows, not towards colourful targets, but at invading forces or duelling factions.

The stakes were much higher then, only if they proved a hoax, there was seldom complaints. The gullible were long dead. Today, the role of Tsips have mostly been confined to archery games and although the developments augur no historical alterations, they are still potent. They can still command people to go crazy. It is not uncommon to hear of a group of men, from all walks of life, and normally of sound mind, grovelling about in a forest all night. Such sights are, of course, rarely seen, as secret is the essence of the stratagem. All the powers-that-be that have been evoked could as easily be sent packing. For if such an excursion is spied by members of the opposing team, a counter-offensive could be launched - one commanded by another Tsip.

Tsips, says the archer, are indispensable to the game and inseparable from the archers. Mostly dervishes or people with some religious indoctrination, they straddle the thin line between the power of persuasion and blind faith today. It's the economics in modern times: either prove your worth or be declared a fake, and lose face - and business. Nevertheless, the Tsip still survives, albeit underground now.

For the asking, they dictate every part of game. Beginning from the direction of the range in the morning, to the choice of target. Forwards, backwards or sideways: their word is law. They even decide when the order of players should be changed and at what point in the game. They perform countless rituals, be it a short one or one that takes an entire day, and calls for the paraphernalia of a house Puja.

Archery contest
They also become more indispensable because of the counter-offensive. A Tsip can choose a target for his team while at the time cast spells on the other. If one team has been told to camp out, the other Tsip can order a combing operation with a piece from his ritual garb which, thrown at the spot of the other camp, could undo all their hard work. It's about defilement. And the tools can be both astounding and appalling.

They are normally soil from grounds of the dead, clothes stained with menstruation or any other unclean object.

Kept atop vehicles of the other team, or rubbed on to their equipment, such tactics, say archers, prove very effective.

More dangerous still are the rituals done to undermine the capability of ace archers from the opposing team. Tsips are believed to be able to make archers fall sick or loose all sense of direction. Normally, the names and ages of the other players are taken by the Tsip on a piece of paper. This bit of paper is either stuck to a sewing machine or mixed, with unclean objects before being buried at a crossroad or under the mattress of a pregnant women.

Archers say that the services of Tsips were always well rewarded. In the old days a Tsip charged 400 Dheys (measure) of rice for his handiwork. A few years before the new rules, a Tsip charged anywhere between Nu 10,000 to Nu 15,000. Whileno archer will admit such practice today, they, however do not drop their guard when it comes to watching the antics of their opponents.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
More Information
Photo Gallery
Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens
Mongar and Lhuentse
Lhuentse Dzong
East-West-Highway by motorbike
Druk Air: Over the Himalayas
Trongsa Dzong
About Bhutan
Sports in Bhutan
East- West- Highway
Bhutan Photo Galleries and Videos
Bhutan Maps
Druk Air: Over the Himalayas
About Bhutan
Lhuentse and Mongar
Trongsa and Zhemgang
Paro and Haa
Southern Bhutan
previous page Bhutan HOME