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China Works for Inclusion of Tibetan Opera on World Heritage List

The government of China's Tibet Autonomous Region will file an application for the inclusion of Tibetan opera on the list of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


Tibetan opera, praised as "the living fossil of traditional Tibetan cultures", boasts a history of more than 600 years, about 400 years longer than Peking opera, which is a national treasure in China.


The regional culture authority and the Tibet Research Institute of Art of Ethnic Group will jointly form a special team to file the application first with the Ministry of Culture in the near future, according to Dainzin Cering, head of the research institute.


The Tibetan opera in its present form dates from the 14th-15th century, although its origins may go back a millennium to Tibetan ritual dances. In history, the opera was usually performed together with folk activities at festivals and temple fairs in Lhasa, Shigatse and Ihoka. The opera has developed two artistic genres in terms of the different color of the masks the performer swear.


It was fortunate that the legendary Tibetan opera with strong Tibetan characteristics has been preserved in an intact way throughout history, said Dainzin Cering.


(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2004)

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