“Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

A large-scale, colourful rendition of the Kyrgyz epic Manas (玛纳斯史诗) was staged March 22-23 in Beijing’s ultra-modern Poly Theater. This performance came just two days after the newly anointed President Xi Jinping, speaking at the People’s Congress, cited two of the three great oral epics of non-Han peoples, Manas and the Tibetan-language King Gesar. While … Continue reading “Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

The Epic of Manas (玛纳斯史诗): A Multilingual Guide to Related Links

April 8, 2019 By Bruce Humes 《玛纳斯史诗》 The Epic of Manas A Multilingual Guide to Related Links General 《中国史诗》(Chinese) Comprehensive 591-page study of China’s oral epics by scholars Lang Ying (朗樱) and J. Rincindorji (仁钦道尔吉). Dedicates 40 pages to Manas, including synopsis, Kyrgyz oral storytelling tradition, manasqi. The Kyrgyz Epic Manas Selections translated, introduced and annotated by then Ph.D. … Continue reading The Epic of Manas (玛纳斯史诗): A Multilingual Guide to Related Links

“Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

A large-scale, colourful rendition of the Kyrgyz epic Manas (玛纳斯史诗) was staged March 22-23 in Beijing’s ultra-modern Poly Theater. This performance came just two days after the newly anointed President Xi Jinping, speaking at the People’s Congress, cited two of the three great oral epics of non-Han peoples, Manas and the Tibetan-language King Gesar. While … Continue reading “Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

Under Threat: ‘Meige’ (梅葛), Creation Epic of the Yi People of Southwest China

In Fading Tones: The Slow Demise of Yunnan's Epic Songs, Matthew Walsh does a fine job of introducing meige (梅葛), the creation tale of Yunnan's Yi people (彝族), via on-the-ground research in Mayou village in Yao'an (姚安马游),  interviews with master storytellers, and several short but moving audio clips of the saga as it is still sung: … Continue reading Under Threat: ‘Meige’ (梅葛), Creation Epic of the Yi People of Southwest China

Jusup Mamay, Manaschi: A Rehabilitated Rightist and his Turkic Epic

A while back I stumbled upon a short Chinese news item about a newly discovered handwritten manuscript of the Kyrgyz Epic of Manas (玛纳斯史诗). This centuries-old trilogy in verse recounts the exploits of the legendary hero Manas, and his son and grandson in their struggle to resist external enemies and unite the Kyrgyz people. Along … Continue reading Jusup Mamay, Manaschi: A Rehabilitated Rightist and his Turkic Epic

Beijing Oct 19-20 Event: First Int’l Symposium on Uyghur Folk Dastan (داستان) in China

Event: First Int’l Symposium on Uyghur Folk Dastan in China (首届中国维吾尔族民间达斯坦国际学术研讨会) Venue: 北京市海淀区三里河路7号 新疆维吾尔自治区政府驻京办事处1号楼 Sponsors: CASS Institute of Ethnic Literature (中国社会科学院民族文学研究所), Xinjiang Federation of Literary and Art Circles (新疆维吾尔自治区文学艺术界联) Organizer: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Folklore Association (新疆维吾尔自治区民间文艺家协会) Attendees: 50 dastan ( داستان , 达斯坦, destanı) scholars from China, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey   Background reading: 互动百科:达斯坦 试论维吾尔民间达斯坦《玉素甫—艾赫麦德》的流传现状 … Continue reading Beijing Oct 19-20 Event: First Int’l Symposium on Uyghur Folk Dastan (داستان) in China

Kurdish Storytellers Congregate in Southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakır

In Few Dengbejs Remain to Sing Kurdish Stories, Mat Nashed reports from Turkey’s Diyarbakır on the “House of Dengbej,” established to provide a venue for performances by traditional Kurdish storytellers: “We sing stories of love and war,” [Mehmet] Ince told Al-Monitor while lighting a cigarette in the house of the dengbej. “We express our history through … Continue reading Kurdish Storytellers Congregate in Southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Mongolian Shaman Songs of Praise Rendered in Chinese

Two poets have collaborated to publish a book containing 29 renditions of songs of praise traditionally chanted by shaman. The original odes in Mongolian were first translated into Mandarin by Mongolian scholar Ni Ma (尼玛), and then polished by Xi Murong (席慕蓉), who also knows Mongolian but was educated in Taiwan. The book is published … Continue reading Mongolian Shaman Songs of Praise Rendered in Chinese

China’s New Intangible Cultural Heritage Encyclopedia: Celebration of Multi-ethnicity, or Aggressive Cultural Appropriation?

China unveiled its premier Encyclopedia of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage (中国非物质文化遗产, 史诗卷) on June 12, reports China Daily (Released). This is the first of three volumes, and is dedicated to three great oral epics of the Tibetans, Mongols and Kyrgyz, respectively: King Gesar, Jangar and Manas. The cover is in Chinese and English, but I do … Continue reading China’s New Intangible Cultural Heritage Encyclopedia: Celebration of Multi-ethnicity, or Aggressive Cultural Appropriation?

Yi Creation Epic Published in Korean, Based on “Reconstructed” Mandarin Version

The creation epic of the Yi people, Meige (梅葛), was translated and published in Korean in 2014 by Seoul-based 民俗苑, according to a news item from the bimonthly Forum on Folk Culture (彝族创世史诗《梅葛》在韩国出版). There are some 8 million Yi (彝族) living in China, Vietnam and Thailand, of which over 4.5 million reside in Yunnan Province. As … Continue reading Yi Creation Epic Published in Korean, Based on “Reconstructed” Mandarin Version