Tibetan skeletal dancers make no bones about it

Buddhist monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet chant with traditional drums during ‘Wisdom and Insight’ at St John the Evangelist Church in Iffley Road, Oxford. Picture: OX63326 Ric Mellis

Buddhist monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet chant with traditional drums during ‘Wisdom and Insight’ at St John the Evangelist Church in Iffley Road, Oxford. Picture: OX63326 Ric Mellis

Oxford Mail
11:00am Monday 11th November 2013 in News

SKELETAL dancers have helped bring a spectacular end to a week’s residency in Oxford for a group of exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks.

The monks, who are from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet, have been showing off their culture and traditions at the Pitt Rivers Museum since Tuesday.

On Saturday night, they performed a dance at St John the Evangelist Church in Iffley Road, Oxford.

The skeletal dancers – known as Durdak – are said to be lords of the cemetery and traditionally perform during Tibetan Buddhist New Year celebrations, which takes place around March.

Tour manager Jane Rasch said: “The dancers are there to remind everybody that, however important they think they are, underneath they are nothing but bones. “They are images to remind people of the fact that they are going to die and they should behave well so in the next life they will have a good rebirth.

“The residency was largely to raise awareness of the culture. “Trying to keep this sort of thing really working in exile is extremely difficult.”

The monks are among Tibetans living in exile as a result of the annexation of the country by China in 1950. They have been living in south India since 1972.

To find out more about the monks, who are taking part in a world tour, visit http://tashi-lhunpo.org.uk

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