Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Raven Crown

The hereditary monarchy of the Wangchuk dynasty in the independent Himalayan State of Bhutan was established in 1907. The first king of the Wangchuk dynasty, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck (1862–1926), was a charismatic figure who came to power against a turbulent background of incessant and complex feuding in that chaotic warrior state. He adopted as the unique symbol of his authority a crown surmounted by the head of a raven. The bird represents a form of “Mahakala“, Bhutan’s guardian deity. The prototype of the founding monarch’s Raven Crown had first been devised as a battle helmet for his father, Jigme Namgyel (1825–81). Known as the Black Regent, he had worn it in bloody struggles against his many rivals within the country and against the British who tried, unsuccessfully, to subdue him.

The story of the Wangchuck dynasty’s rise and triumph moves from a picture of turmoil and chaos to one of relative peace and stability. The heredity monarchy is fairly recent and the Wangchuck dynasty was established in 1907.

Raven Crown today is the official crown worn by the Kings of Bhutan. The Raven is the national bird of Bhutan. The raven is known locally as Jaroq. One time was a capital crime to kill a raven in Bhutan.