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Second day into Tibet's Shoton Festival - Lhamo under spotlight
   2016-09-02 15:51:54    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fei Fei

With a history of more than 600 years, Tibetan Opera is one of China's oldest operatic forms and is regarded as the "living fossil of Tibetan culture." [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Li Jianhjua]

Friday marks the second day of Lhasa's Shoton Festival - the second most-celebrated festival in southwest China's Tibet.

Tibetans start the second day by attending the Tibetan Opera, or "Lhamo" in Tibetan, which means "Sister Fairy."

Traditionally, the Tibetan Opera is an open circular space sheltered by a canopy, with the stage defined by a central altar.

The opera tells stories that include Tibet's history, ancient legends of heroes and Gods, and satires on current events.

The opera costumes are lavish with rich brocades and a striking variety of masks and animal motifs. The music is created entirely by drums and cymbals that punctuate each movement.

"Rumor" is that the present Tibetan Opera dates back to the 14th century. At this time, a high-ranking monk and a bridge builder named Drupthok Thangthong Gyalpo decided to build iron bridges across all the major rivers in Tibet to improve local transportation and facilitate pilgrimage.

To fund the bridges, Thangthong Gyalpo put together a singing and dancing group of seven beautiful girls who performed throughout Tibet. This group of girls is believed to be the prototype of today's Tibetan Opera.

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