Discover Tibet's charming masks

CNC report from Tibet
Added On August 8, 2013

Meanwhile, as part of the Shoton Festival, Lhasa is holding an exhibition of Tibetan masks.

It showcases more than 160 kinds of masks worn in Tibetan opera.

Considered an important part of Tibet's intangible culture heritage, Tibetan mask art is fascinating and mysterious.

It brings in locals and tourists from around the world.

As an important part of Tibetan culture, Tibetan opera has become more well known in recent years. The masks that worn by performers during the Tibetan opera are one of the mysterious attractions for audiences.

Masks are called "Ba" in the Tibetan language. In view of the characteristic human environment, folk customs and religion, Tibetan masks hold a delightful feature and unique representation.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE) MIGMAR, President of Tibet Culture House:
"We will fully perform our functional role, to enrich civilians' culture lives during 2013 Shoton Festival, one of the most important festivals in Tibetan calendar."

It is said that Tibetan masks can be broadly divided into religious masks and folk masks. Religious masks are often used in significant religious festivals and great events.

The masks are generally made of paper and cloth, partly with wood, copper and iron.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) YANG YUNJIA, Postgraduate of Beijing Dance Academy:
"Some Buddhism elements are permeated in Changmon masks, which show an image of one kind animal, exaggerative and horrify. I think it is related to some factors that Buddhism moralizes human beings and controls monsters. Its heavy color gives us strong stimulation."

Dated to the 8th century, the Tibetan opera masks gradually formed their own representational system. Masks with various materials can display different roles' character and personalities. 

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) YANG YUNJIA, Postgraduate of Beijing Dance Academy:
"I think some Tibetan masks prefer to focus on life and look demotic. And the third part, masks of folk songs and dances, are close to common people. For instance, some characters in these masks are historical legends."

Compared to religious masks, folk masks in Tibet concentrate on regionalism and original nature of Tibetan culture, rooting in village and pasture life.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) YANG YUNJIA, Postgraduate of Beijing Dance Academy
"All in all, these masks give me powerful feeling from their colors to characters, even to layout."

As a unique and particular culture product during Tibetan history, Tibetan mask art is one of the treasures of the Chinese nation.