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Spotlight shines on Tibet

DISTINCTIVE Tibetan dances and singing will take place this week at the Expo as Tibet Culture Week began yesterday.

The week will also include traditional Tibetan medicines, Tibetan calligraphy and Tangkha paintings.

More than 400 Tibetan artists spent more than 50 hours on a train in order to perform at the World Expo through Sunday.

The performances and exhibitions showcase typical Tibetan culture involving both professional and folk artists, said Zhang Zhizhong, director of the Arts Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

One of the highlights of the week is the percussion performance by 120 peasants. They will each play a waist drum.

What makes the performance truly special is that these peasants have never before left their hometown of Gongga, giving visitors a rare opportunity to see the drumming, said Jiang Bai Jia Cuo, director of the performance.

They play the drums with two whips while dancing. They bow and turn swiftly to strike the drums, which they wear around their waist.

Tibetans are known for three percussion styles - "earth," "sky" and "sky-middle" drumming.

The peasants learned from older family members and usually play at Tibetan festivals.

They will perform every day at 6pm in a parade along Bocheng Road during Tibet Culture Week.

Expo visitors can also watch as an artist makes a Tangkha silk painting.

Tangkha painting is listed as a national intangible material cultural heritage. The paintings usually feature images of Buddha or Buddhist scenes.

Tibetan pharmacists brought about 15 medicines, all made according to ancient prescriptions and said to be effective. The medicines can be purchased.

Some of the medicines, in pill form, are made with valuable herbs. These pills have been placed inside gold or silver boxes.

Visitors can also watch Qun Pei, 60, write cursive Tibetan. He writes the names of visitors from both home and abroad according to pronunciation.

He also adds "tashi delek," which means luck and happiness.

An hour-long Tibetan Opera, "Joyous Songs Around Highland," will be performed daily at Celebration Square at 4pm until Sunday.


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