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Tibetan Culture, the Arts and Sports Prosper


Tibet has an ancient and distinctive cultural tradition and an abundant and colorful heritage of literature and the arts, Tibetan people are accomplished at singing and dancing, Tibetan women have played an important part in carrying on and spreading Tibetan culture and art.

''King Gesar'', the world's longest epic created by the Tibetan people, existed only as an oral history among the Tibetan people and was performed using dialogue and pinging. It has incorporated almost all the strong points of the Tibetan folk literature.

Among the well-known performers of the epic is a woman named Gyu-me. Through dialogue and singing, she can present more than 100 vivid personalities.

Gyu-me was born in 1959 Sog County. Her father was a famous performer for "King Gesar"' but he died while still fairly yoinng. Gyu-me herself can sing 70 parts of this epic. In 1981 she was invited to Lhasa to record the epic. By 1989 she had already recorded ten parts, which totalled 4 million words, including the ''Fighting in Talin''. Her contribution has provided a means to study this epic. Today the retrieval, collation and study of this epic has been included in the state's key social science research projects.

Yeshe Dolma, a Tibetan writer, has made a remarkable contribution to the contemporary literature. As a state's first rank author, both of her scenario, ''Ai the Remote Pasture'' and the short story ''Beauty and Ugliness'' have won the national award.

G.yang-can, deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine ''Tibetan Literature,'' is a new addition to the literary world, with the publication of her novel, ''Rosy Stamen.'' Degyi Tsomo's short stories and Pema Yangzom's verses are also well-received by readers.

Tibet is considered a sea of songs and dances. Among Tibetans, Tsetop Dolma is the best performer. A one-time serf, she has become the state's leading singer. She has performed in many countries all over the world. In 1989 she won the national Golden Gramophone Award. She is now the Vice- President of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Vice-president of the Association of Chinese Musicians and Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

To help Tibetan culture and arts to flourish, the local federation of literary and art circles and the cultural department have set up the Qomolangma Literary and Art Foundation through Tsetop Dolma's proposition and efforts.

In August 1993, the foundation held its first awards ceremony, at which Tsetop Dolma and other leaders awarded 32 writers and artists and an artists' collective the Qomolangma golden Image Prize, the highest honor for literal and artistic achievements in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Tsering Sangmo is an expert in Tibetan dance and an outstanding Tibetan dance educator. She is now a member of the Chinese Dancers' Association and a member of the Council of the Chinese Society of Ethnic Dances.

In 1959 Tsering Sangmo began dance training classes in Beijing's Central Institute for Nationalities and became one of the first group of female Tibetan students who specialized in dancing since the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

Six years later she graduated as one of the top students and began a successful career as a performer. The Tibetan dances she choreographed have won prizes both at home and abroad.

She has traveled all over Tibet to research into and collect various traditional dances. On the basis of her studies, she has written the first teaching material for dance, which has brought the history of Tibetan dance from oral histories to the page. This was the first textbook on Tibetan dances which was awarded the top prize for teaching materials by the institute. It has been chosen by more than ten artistic schools, institutes and art troupes in the country to train their students.

Now Tsering Sangmo has hundreds of students. At the three National Artistic Schools and Institutes ' Taoli Cup Competitions of Chinese Dances, seven of her students won the prizes for their performances, the prizes for ten best performances for youth group and teenager group.

Dolma, a young Tibetan dancer who is also a student of Tsering Sangmo, won the highest award at the second Taoli Cup dance competition and the honor of one of the Ten Best National Dancers. Like her teacher, Dolma loves her own nationality and native home. Every year she returns to that piece of land where she was brought up to feel the extensiveness and profoundness of the Tibetan culture. She has brought new life to the Tibetan dances, using techniques of exaggeration and distortion. She blends Tibetan folk dancing traditions using taps and revolutions with other styles, and has evolved the Tibetan dances from original self-entertainment to an unrestrained dancing with aesthetic bearing and a strong national flavor.

Dolma's dances, ''The Qomolangma, '' ''The Yarlung Zangbo River '' ''Mother'' and ''The Morning Song In Plateau'' have caused a sensation at home and abroad.

During a performance on Mothers' Day, she told the audience in the Tibetan language, ''please allow me to present my dances to my mother and all the mothers in the remote snowy plateau.''

To train more young Tibetan artistic talents, the University of Tibet has set up an arts department, where young people can study painting, music, dance and receive a good education.

Among the paintings displayed in the showroom within University of Tibet, many are painted by female students.

Tsering Degyi's oil painting ''Three Lhasa Girls'' and Degyi Yangzom's ''Moonlit Night'' possess the strong charm of the Tibetan nationality.

Byangchub-Mdzesma is a worthy Tibetan painter. Her works include Tibetan "Tangka'' paintings, oil paintings and prints. On many occasions her work has been included in national art exhibitions and in touring exhibitions in Japan, Algeria and Hong Kong. Her name has been entered into the Chinese Art Dictionary and the Who's Who of the Chinese Current Arts Circles.

In midwinter of 1992, a fashion show team from the roof of the world appeared onstage in Beijing. It was the first time the Lhasa fashion show participants, comprising nine young Tibetan women, had the chance to leave Tibet and visit Beijing. Among the eight models were included TV anchors from the Tibet Television Station, actresses from the Tibetan Opera Troupe and Singing and Dancing Assembly, and members of a partial arts team. Their show had a strong, national style.

'There are some people who don't understand Tibet and think that Tibet is still closed today,'' said Lhamo, 24, one of the performers, ''If is not like that, through our performance, we hope to help people get to know more about the development in Tibet, about what Tibetan people are thinking and to know that both the ancient and young, traditional and modern, co-exist in Tibet. We are seeking for beauty, longing for development. We are looking at the outside world from the roof of the world.''

The woman who once stood the highest in the world is Aehentog, a Tibetan mountaineer.

On July 7, 1957, Pehentog, along with Shes-rab, Cheme led Tsamchoe, climbed Mount Muztagata and broke the previous women's mountain climbing world record of 7.456 meter, which had just been set by a French mountaineer. In 1974, Pehentog, who used to be a serf before the aeration, was already 36 years old and a mother of three children. When she learned the news about conquering the world's first peak, she resolutely signed up to participate in the climb.

On May 27, 1974, after an 11-day struggle between life and death, Pehentog became the first woman in the world to climb Mount Qomolangma from the northern slope. At the top of the mountain, she and others determined the exact height of the Qomolangma to be 8848.13 meters above sea level. Standing on the ice and snow on the peak, Pehentog performed the first remote electrocardiogram at the top of the each.

Today in Tibet there are a great many women like Pehentog. They are working hard in various fields, and they have as much courage and confidence as Pehentog.

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