With it's roots in the masked dance-drama tradition of the Tibetan royal dynastic period (6th to 9th centuries), the development of Lhamo as we know it today is attributed to the 14th century's highly realised Lama respected teacher and self made engineer, Thangtong Gyalpo. Thangtong Gyalpo perceived the power of the performance medium as a way of telling moral tales, based on Buddhist philosophy, in the words of the common people. Lhamo is a day long performance played outdoors traditionally under a large circular canvas tent, through a unique style of song dialogue, dance and pantomime. Music is simple, however the cymbals and drum create remarkable atmosphere. Costumes generally imitate those of the Tibetan aristrocracy, and some characters wear masks, which portray their personality with bold symbolism.
The following operas are performed by TIPA troupes.