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  Dinqen Raba dancing in eastern Tibet  
Source:en.tibet.cn Time:2006-12-15
The Picture O f Tibet Travel News
Raba is one art type featuring bell and beat combined with dancing, intonation, drama, acrobatics and martial arts. Dinqen Raba is popular in the Dinqen area of Qamdo, and differs from other Raba forms in Tibetan-inhabited areas. Dinqen County is located in the northwest of Qamdo, which lies in the northeast of Tibet Autonomous Region. Dinqen stands on the upper stream of the Nujiang, one of the three famous rivers in China.

Dinqen Raba originated from the grassroots' lifestyle. Before emancipation, when folk artists made a living by busking, Raba mainly was passed from generation to generation within the family.

Tales about the origin of Dinqen Raba fall into two kinds. One holds that it came into being in the 11th Century, created by Mira Riba, the second generation master of the Gagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The other story is that Dinqen Raba evolved from the witchcraft and totem dancing of the Bon religion in Tibet. However, Dinqen people worship Mira Riba as the founder of Dinqen Raba.
Raba performaned on the grasslands.
Around Serzha of the Dinqen area,Gyaco Raba was created 500 years ago featuring elegant gestures and pleasant rhythms. This school has been carried on by current professional actors.

There are three schools of Dinqen Raba dancing. Hanto Raba centered on Dinqen Cho'eng has a history of more than 900 years; Hanto Raba is a branch of acrobatics seldom seen nowadays. Around Serzha of the Dinqen area, Gyaco Raba was created 500 years ago featuring elegant gestures and pleasant rhythms. This school has been carried on by current professional actors. Meanwhile, around 300 years ago, the Dinqen Sangdog area witnessed a new school of Donglho Raba, which has diverse performance styles but mainly features traditional bell and beat, mixed with humorous talk and chanting and other modes. Today, Donglho Raba is still passed on within families in semi-herding, semi-farming areas like Chonshiu Village of Sangdog Township. People there would go into the street and perform during leisure seasons.

That Dinqen Raba's durability and prosperity in dancing and singing lasting hundreds of years and that it has its modern heirs is mainly thanks to those folk who have zest for Raba. It's they who made the ancient art perfect and keep it alive from generation to generation.

At the end of March 2006, the Ministry of Culture included Dinqen Raba in the first batch of national non-tangible culture heritage items.
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