• A Buddhist dance-drama presented by monks for the Sherpa peopleof Nepal. The form apparently originated in Tibet, the Sherpas' ancienthomeland. The plays extol the Buddhist faith and portray it as superiorto Nepal's ancient Bon religion, which is frequently disparaged.

    Performances are staged in temple courtyards during majorreligious festivals and usually last for three days. The audiencewear their finest clothes; special guests join the religious authoritiesin reserved seats.

    The festivities begin with a ceremony of 'Life-Consecration'featuring music played on such unusual instruments as 10-foot-longbrass horns and trumpets made from human thigh bones. The second day'sperformance is divided into 13 segments of dance and comic anticslasting about 20 minutes each. The monks wear large colourful masksto represent deities, mythological beings, and ordinary mortals. Whenthe day's drama ends, the playgoers dance and sing folk songs formost of the night. On the third day the chief abbot oversees ritualsperformed to symbolize the destruction of evil forces.