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Learning more about King Gesar and Potala Palace

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-25-2015 14:25 BJT

By Hu Yifeng, research director, Literary Criticism Center, Literary and Art Association

Recently, the video of a Tibetan girl singing, "Like you", a classic song performed by "Beyond," a popular band from Hong Kong, had gone viral, which has captured people's attention on Tibet.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. In the past five decades, Beijing has supported Tibet with preferential policies, talent cultivation, fund investments and infrastructure construction. Tibetan culture has received unprecedented protections, inheritance, and modern development. 

Religion remains an indispensable part of Tibetan culture. Many religious relics and classics have accumulated over a long time.

In old Tibet, the protection of cultural relics was nearly obsolete, however since the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951,  great attention has been attached to the protection of cultural relics by the Chinese central government. The Archive of Cultural Relics and Historic Sites Management Committee had been established in Tibet in June 1959. Additionally, the central government had organized groups to make surveys of significant cultural relics in Lhasa, Shigatse, Lhoka and other areas in the region. The local government of Tibet issued Regulations on Preservation of Cultural Relics of Tibet and other laws to realize normalized management.

Meanwhile the Potala Palace is an amazing site of culture and art. From 1989 to 1994, Beijing had allocated 55 million yuan and much gold and silver to repair Potala Palace.

After finishing repairs in May 1994, UNESCO had conducted a field investigation and regarded it "a miracle in the history of ancient building protection" and "a great contribution to the protection of Tibetan culture and world culture." In December 1994, Potala Palace was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The cultural protection of Potala Palace has moved forward again in August this year, because its fresco of 2,500 square meters has been digitalized, providing an internet platform for people to appreciate the beauty of Tibetan culture.

Accordingly, folk art is close to people's daily lives and possesses distinct regional characteristics. In the early 1950s, literary and art workers from Tibet and other parts of China  had worked together to collect and record folk culture and art heritage of ethnic Tibetan groups.

King Gesar is a long epic poem created by the Tibetan people and a rare product of world literature. In 1979, the Tibet Autonomous Region  established a special rescue institute of King Gesar, where 57 artists were interviewed.

More than 3,000 tapes of 15 artists were recorded, as well as 300 Tibetan manuscripts and wood block versions of King Gesar were collected. Now, over three million copies of King Gesar in Tibetan have been printed, turning its oral transmission tale through folk artists into the "king of the world's epics." The works of King Gesar have also been translated into English, Japanese and French.

Cultural inheritance relies on a vibrant spiritual and cultural life. In recent years, folk literature and art organizations have flourished in Tibet; cultural facilities, such as art galleries, public libraries and activity centers have been upgraded.

The festivals celebrating the Shoton in Lhasa, Mt. Qomolangma culture in Shigatse, Yarlung culture in Lhoka, Azalea culture in Nyingchi, Khampa art in Chambo are held every year to enrich people's lives in Tibet. Culture nourishes people and provides an unprecedented inheritance.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.



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