The dancing and singing in Tibetan drama are comparatively simple and some of the singing is like recital. Therefore, costume plays an important role in shaping the characters. Tibetan theatrical costume and ornaments have a strong traditional style and national features.
No matter what it is, a satin robe, an embroidered Tibetan robe, a headdress or an earring of a noble lady, or an ornament of a monk or a layman, and no matter what texture they are of, gold, jade, jewelry, gem, silver, bronze, shell or turquoise, they are all exquisite and rigorously in accordance with the position and capacity of the figure in the drama.
Even the Buddhist articles in the lama’s hand, chibu in the left hand and delu in the right hand are not to be misplaced. All these are dramatized reality. The costume and ornaments for folk figures in drama are also based on those of the herdsmen, peasants and monks, only dramatized to make them more typical. These costumes and ornaments with their unique features can help create vivid dramatic images on the stage.
To sing praise of the good and lash out at the evil is the subject matter of traditional Tibetan drama. When such subjects are given romantic expression on the stage, the costume and make-up also show such romantic color. Therefore, Tibetan drama appeals greatly to the Tibetan people.
One of the features of Tibetan drama is the use of masks in make-up. Figures in the prelude all wear a mask. Not only the negative characters wear a mask, the positive characters also do. Like the facial make-up in Beijing opera, masks are used with extreme exaggeration to eulogize or criticize figures in the drama, which is in conformity with the romantic intention of the playwright.
The artistic effect of the masks is even more prominent than the facial make-up. But on the other hand, masks do not show the expression changes of the performer to the audience. This, however, does not affect the stage effect. The stage acts and speeches of masked performers are all dramatized. The excellent dancing and singing of the performer not only strongly appeal to the audience, they also arouse their boundless associations.