Culture in Lhokha

Tibetan drama

Yarlung has been the native place of Tibetan drama which was invented by a monk of Ka-gyud-pa, Tangtong Jiebu five hundred years ago. Tangtong Jiebu, the great master, worked to collect donations to build an iron bridge over the Lhasa River so as to provide the local residents with convenience. In order to collect money needed, the great master organized strong young men of the Qiongjiebindun village into the first troupe to make performances and collect donations. In this way, this kind of performance became fixed gradually and the Tibetan Drama took its original shape. By generations of enrichment and development, the Tibetan Drama has evolved into prosperity with eight lists of traditional operas in its repertoire from nothing. The Tibetan Drama has four schools: the White Mask Drama, the Yellow Mask Drama, the Blue Mask Drama and the Black Mask Drama. The White Mask Drama troupes Zhaxixueba in Naidong and Bindunba in Qiongjie, enjoying a high reputation for its history, play a strikingly important role in the Tibetan Drama and remain to be the opening performance on the Tibet Xuedun Festival each year.

What’s more, there are various kinds of songs and dances in Lhokha, such as songs and dances on labor, songs and dances on wedding ceremony, songs and dances on wine, songs and dances on love, the special songs and dances Luolangxiazhuo on funeral, humorous songs and dances on happy occasions, yak dance Yaqiang on harvest and a special dance named Guoxie----- people dance to amuse themselves under the moonlight with needfire. The dance Guoxie exerts a large influence on the whole Tibet for its distinctive characteristics.


Zhuoxie is a kind of public dance with a long-handle flat drum tied to one’s waist. While dancing, the drummer will beat the drum with two curved drumsticks. This kind of dance became popular in Yalong and the rest parts of Tibet in the 17th century, not only was it performed in the inauguration ceremony for the Sangye temple and recorded but also performed again on the magnificent and glorious wedding ceremony when the Tibet king Songtsen gampo married the princess Wencheng from the Tang empire according to some legends. For more than one thousand years, the dance Zhuoxie has been showing its lasting vitality.


Jibozhuoga has been popular in Yarlung for a long time, in which the actors wear masks and some act the roles fighting with bare hands, some taking swords, some drawing a bow so as to reproduce the scenes of ancient warriors fighting valiantly against their enemies.


Qiangmu is an old form of song and dance currently prevalent in Tibet, which originated from Samye Monastery in the north of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. In order to celebrate its victory in the struggle with other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the Great Master Luohuasheng compiled and rehearsed this kind of dance with mask and God’s clothes. On the inauguration ceremony, the dance made its debut. Soon, it spread all over the Yarlung, even to Mongolia.


Frescos and Thangkas in the monasteries of Lhokha are the typical reflection of Tibetan painting style. The Thangkas are painted or embroidered images rendered on cloth, silk or paper which is mounted on a cloth backing and may be rolled up like a scroll when not hung. Paintings in Lhokha cover a wide range of subjects. They include the images of historic legends, religious service, scenes of manual labor and the stories of lives from the Tubo period to Ming and Qing dynasty.

All of these paintings outline vividly the religious history and social development of the Tibetans, as well as the scenes of life and work of the Tibetans. For example, the frescos on the winding corridor of the main palace in Samye Monastery consist of scenes on Tibet history, history of Samye Monastery, paintings on Lianhuasheng, dance and acrobatics, weightlifting and Judo, athletics and horse riding and so on. Frescos in the Zhanangzhatang Monastery, built in 11th century, have a good layout and a primitive simplicity in color, which are the same as that of Duanghuang Caves(a great historical heritage in China)in style and characterization. These features are rare in Tibet paintings. All of these make frescos a high referential value to the study of Tibet history, to the study of Yarlung culture and the development of Tibetan Buddhism.

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