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In the mysterious land of the Tibetan Plateau, there is an art of singing and dancing that has survived hundreds of years of history. Just as it seems it may finally fade away, Tibetan Opera, and other traditional Tibetan arts have received official protection and now hope to sparkle once again.
With the intense drum beats and an unadorned singing style, the Juemulong Tibetan Opera Troupe is rehearsing traditional opera "Chi Mu Gun Dan." The Juemulong Troupe is located in a small county near Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Though this is not a public show, many Tibetan peasants are still in attendance. Some herders from far away have even brought their tsamba and milk tea to enjoy through a whole day of opera pleasure.
Behind this warm scene is a cold fact. As of 2002, Tibetan Opera was on the edge of extinction with almost no one designated as an inheritor.
Qiongda, Troupe Director of Juemulong Tibetan Opera Troupe, said, "Juemulong Tibetan Opera was once faced with the danger of survival. Under the direction and help of the government, in 2001 we established this Tibetan art troupe and revive this art again."
Tibetan Opera records the history of Tibet and has thus been called the "living fossil of Tibet." The government has put 6-million yuan into the protection and rescue of the folk Tibetan Opera Troupes, and more than ten struggling troupes have been rescued and re-established.
Nyima Tsering, Dept. Head, Dept. of Culture, Tibet Auto. Reg."In 2005 the government started the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Project. 5 years later, now Tibet has 2 world-class, 60 national and 22 regional intangible cultural heritages and 188 national cultural inheritors."
In 2009, Tibetan Opera and the Gesar, the Tibetan historical oral epic, were both included on UNESCO's World Intangible Cultural Heritage list. From 2006 to 2009, China has put 44 million yuan into saving and inheriting the region's intangible cultural heritage. In the next five years, even more work will be done.