Traditional Tibetan culture is full of new life


Tibetan opera performers perform the opera Sukyi Nyima.[Photo/China News Service]

The Tibet Autonomous Region is currently holding an official exhibition lasting for two months to showcase achievements made in conserving local cultural heritage.

In his speech at an event on June 9, Gang Qing, head of the Tibet Autonomous Region Department of Cultural Affairs, stated that at present, the achievement of preservation and inheritance of many intangible cultural heritage items has been remarkable, and Tibetan traditional culture is glowing with new vitality.

Ngawang Tenzin, deputy director and associate research fellow of the Tibet Autonomous Region Ethnic Arts Research Institute, said that current methods for preserving intangible cultural heritage in Tibet are diversified, and more than 100,000 copies of material on intangible cultural heritages have been recorded during the investigation and surveys.

On June 8, Training Base for the Ga'er, a China national-level intangible cultural heritage item was established and opened in Lhasa, Tibet. Two inheritors, Phuntsok Yuje and Tashi Tsering, held a ceremony to receive new apprentices who will be trained to carry on this intangible cultural heritage item.

Ngawang Tenzin said that Tibet has strengthened the building of training base and the training of intangible cultural heritage inheritors in recent years. There are currently 10 professional performing art groups, 74 county-level folk art troupes, and nearly 2,000 amateur performing art groups, which have become the backbone of inheriting and developing excellent traditional culture. At the same time, there are currently 165 intangible cultural heritage training sites in Tibet.

It is reported that among the national-level intangible cultural heritage inheritors in Tibet, more than 35 percent are over the age of 70.

"In recent years, we have been compiling records to salvage endangered intangible cultural heritage items and elderly inheritors," Ngawang Tenzin said, adding that Tibet has also been vigorously guiding the productive preservation of Tibetan medicine, thangka painting, Tibetan incense, and handicraft weaving in order to help these items develop sustainably.

In 2009, Tibetan opera was successfully selected as a representative on the UN human intangible cultural heritage list.

"We actively strive for financial funds and allocate special funding to eight national-level Tibetan opera schools in Tibet," Ngawang Tenzin said.

He said that this has prompted the number of Tibetan folk opera performance troupes to develop from less than 50 to more than 140, with more than 5,000 performers. To date, Tibet has successfully held four Regional Tibetan Opera Competitions and two Tibetan Opera Aria Competitions.

Ngawang Tenzin said that the next step will be to train young performance troupes to carry on the heritage. On the basis of inheritance and preservation, Tibet will strive to strengthen the influence of intangible cultural heritage, allowing the excellent traditional culture of Tibet to "go out" of the snowy plateau.