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Ruling king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck with Saffron-coloured kabney.
Gho with orange kabney.

A kabney (Dzongkha: བཀབ་ནེ་; Wylie: bkab-ne) is a silk scarf worn as a part of the gho, the traditional male costume in Bhutan.[1] It is raw silk, normally 90 by 300 centimetres (35 in × 118 in) with fringes. Kabney is worn over the traditional coat gho; it runs from the left shoulder to the right hip, and is worn at special occasions or when visiting a dzong. Kabney is also referred as Bura which means silk.

The use of gho and kabney is encouraged in Bhutan as a part of driglam namzha (or driklam namzhak), the official behaviour and dress code of Bhutan. Gho is thus compulsory for schoolboys and government officials.[1][2] The female traditional dress is called kira. A rachu is worn over the traditional dress kira.[1][3]

The rank of the bearer determines the colour of the scarf:[4][2][5][6]

  • Saffron scarf for the Druk Gyalpo (king) and the Je Khenpo (chief abbot).
  • Orange scarf for Lyonpos (ministers and other members of the government).[2]
  • Red scarf for Dashos (male members of the royal family and higher officials).[2]
  • Green scarf for judges.
  • Blue scarf for members of parliament s].[7]
  • White scarf with red stripes for Gups (headmen of the 205 gewogs).[8]
  • White scarf for ordinary citizens.[9]

Former scarf ranks include:

  • White scarf with blue stripes for Chimi (members of the National Assembly).
  • Blue scarf for lodoe Tsoggde.


  1. ^ a b c Gyurme Dorje. Footprint Bhutan. Footprint, [2004]. ISBN 1-903471-32-X. Section "National dress", p 261
  2. ^ a b c d Kabney & Patang; from the blog "Bhutan Land Of The Thunder Dragon" by Yeshey Dorji
  3. ^ Bhutan Majestic Travel Archived 2016-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kabney colour mania Archived 2017-07-13 at the Wayback Machine; bhutanobserver.bt, August 19, 2011
  5. ^ The Symbolism of Kabney and Rachu in Bhutan; blog "Asian University For Women Academic Reading/Writing 2011"
  6. ^ Bhutanese Society and Dress; Bhutan Life Exposure Tours & Treks
  7. ^ Blue Kabney (Scarf) for members of parliament Archived 2016-06-17 at the Wayback Machine; bhutanmajestictravel.com
  8. ^ His Majesty grants dhar and kabney to the Gups; bbs.bt
  9. ^ Time for the white kabney Archived 2015-08-25 at the Wayback Machine; bhutanobserver.bt, May 3rd, 2013