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Cover Stories Series 2011> Tibet 60 Years On> Archive
UPDATED: November 29, 2010 NO. 48 DECEMBER 2, 2010
Tibet in Spain's Spotlight
A storm of culture swirls in major cities during 13 days of cultural exhibitions

COLORFUL WORLD: Visitors in Spain enjoy the exhibition on Tibet (CHEN HAITONG)

Tibet, often regarded as a remote and mysterious place, is lessening its distance from the rest of the world with displays of its splendid culture. Since the first Chinese Tibet Culture Week was held in Australia in 2001, it has traveled to many countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Thailand, Austria and Russia. This year, the festival moved to Spain.

"Most Spanish people don't know that much about Tibet. This is a good chance for them to learn more about this mysterious place. The distance between the two countries makes it hard for people from both sides to understand each other well, especially because Tibet is located in the most remote area in China," said Carlos Blasco Villa, Spanish Ambassador to China, "and cultural exchanges and understanding about traditions and beliefs are fundamentally important for mutual understanding."

This event lasted for 13 days from November 15 with 60 artists and scholars from Tibet presenting and displaying thangka art and Tibetan music and dance, as well as displays of Tibetan medicine in Madrid and Valencia.

"It is the first time a Tibetan cultural event has been held in Spain and it is also an important moment of cultural exchanges between Spain and China," said Dong Yunhu, Deputy Director of the Information Office of the State Council of China, at the event's opening ceremony. "I hope the Culture Week will provide an opportunity for Spanish people to get a close look at Tibet, its culture, people and development."

A song and dance performance, Charm of Tibet, on stage in Madrid on November 15 highlighted the event. Performers showcased the unique costumes worn in local festivals and the diverse traditions of Tibetan performing arts.

"A simple Tibetan proverb goes that there are more languages than mountains in Tibet. We can see the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau enjoys such diversified landscapes and cultures," said Villa. Spain—just like China—is a nation endowed with diversified natural and human cultures, he said, and both countries were clearly aware of their responsibilities to protect cultural heritage and promote the development of their treasures.

Villa is a big fan of thangka art although he has never been to Tibet. A unique painting style of Tibet, thangka enjoys a history of more than 1,000 years and plays a very important role in Tibet's monasteries. Today, thangkas have entered ordinary homes as decoration. In Lhasa there are several workshops specializing in making thangkas.

During the festival in Spain, more than 30 thangkas from Tibet were on show, together with 80 photos captured through the lens of photographers from China and abroad, enabling the Spanish to have a close look at this art form.

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