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Performing Arts

A Ji La Mu (in Tibetan)

A Ji La Mu (in Tibetan), La Mu, Lang Da, Zangju

Tibetan Opera


Stage Photos of Tibetan Opera Langshawenbo

Zangju is an opera art mainly with singing and the mutual cooperation with singing, verse and dancing.

Reasons for selection


Area where performed

Zangju is popular in the Tibetan district. Besides Tibet, it is also performed in the areas of Tibetan living communities in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, etc. and also in the areas of India, Bhutan, etc.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance, Theatre

Detailed explanation

Zangju is performed in Tibetan language. It is originated at the ceremony of religious sorcerer's dance. In the fifteenth century, the Buddhist monk Tang Dong Jie Bu led folk art into the ceremony of sorcerer's dance to perform folk stories and the stories in the Buddhist sutra, so Zangju became an opera form with singing and dancing. In the seventeenth century, Zangju became independent from the religious ceremony, and combined itself with literature, music, dancing, Shuochang (story telling with music), Zayi (acrobat), etc., and developed as an opera art mainly singing and combination with chang (song), yun (verse), dance, acrobat skills, etc. Zangju has three sections while being performed: Singing and dancing to worship the gods are in the prologue, the legend is the main body of the opera, and blessing happiness and luckiness is the end. One large opera could be continuously performed for one or five days. The singing is sonorous and resounding. The tune of Zangju is created to accommodate the performers. Audiences echo while singing each tune. The accompaniment instruments are a drum and a cymbal. There are two ways of performing: with mask or with make-up. Traditional theatrical pieces are classified into the opera of historical legends, the opera of the folk stories, the opera about the ways of the human world, and the opera of the stories form the Buddhist Sutra. Main repertoires are Princess Wen Chen, Prince Nuo Sang, Sujinima, Zhouwasangmu, etc.

Publication and textual documentation

SUN Ziqiang
1990 Sichuan Zangxi A Ji La Mu (in Tibetan), La Mu, Lang Da, Zangju.
Chengdu: Sichuan Nationalities Publishing House. In Chinese.

Audio documentation


Visual documentation


Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

In 1960, Zangju Troupe of the Tibetan Autonomous Region was officially founded. They sought out and performed the traditional operas Langshawenbo, Princess Wen Chen, Prince Nuo Sang, etc. The troupe moved the performance from the village squares to the stage, therefore the performance could have make-up, lights, the screen and be accompanied by wind and string instruments. Thus, the traditional Tibetan Opera achieved a new development.

Data provider

Mr. Wang Ankui
Traditional Opera Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Arts
Address: 17 Qianhai Xijie, Beijing 100009, China