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Lama dancing

Lama dancing (Tib., lha.'cham, ‘sacred dance’). Tibetan Buddhist mystery play. A drama of great colour, costume, masks, and music, enacted predominantly by lamas as a form of mime, in which every bodily movement carries a precise symbolic meaning. Such dances are normally performed at festivals, particularly those of the new year (losar) such as the Great Prayer held around the jokhang, when they can double as exorcism ceremonies, banishing evil from the community in order to begin the new year auspiciously.

Lama dancing should not be confused with a popular form of dance called A che lha mo (‘elder sister-goddess’) which is performed by travelling theatrical troupes and where the subject-matter is more profane.

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