Epic King Gesar and its inheritor

By / 08-01-2013 /

Gesar singer Ani

Epic King Gesar was originated in Tibetan area. It is the longest of all epics in the world. It includes about 100 episodes, each of which comprises 5000 lines, thus totaling more than 500,000 lines. The famous ancient Greek epic Iliad has around 15,000 lines, the Indian epic Ramayana has 48,000 lines whereas Mahabharata has about 200,000 lines.


Each region has its own version, and different singers from the same region will even sing slightly differently.Gesar is one of the world"s only living epic, as it continues to be written and changed by folk artists.
Gesar, as an immortal epic, which was produced and developed based on ancient Tibetan folk literature, including myths, folklore, poems and proverbs. Gesar represents the highest achievement of ancient Tibetan folk singers.
It is through the lineage of the original composers, their successors and other instructors--these brilliant folksingers --that Gesar has been preserved and developed over generations.
The renowned Gesar singer Ani’s experience with the tradition has become a legend: It is said that he first learned to sing Gesar during a dream in his childhood. One of Ani’s relatives gave him a precious gift-the first volume of the Epic Gesar: Hor-Ling war. Ani then worked very hard to study the Tibetan language (Ani didn’t have formal school education so he wasn’t able to read Tibetan till then). He finally could read throughGesar scripts and sing them. Ani has read 77 epic scripts and is able to sing 80 chapters of Gesar, not to mention sing in dozens of scales. The stories in his works are full of dramatic plots. They vividly reflected the thoughts, culture, life, production and customs of Tibetan people, while their lively characters are vividly portrayed.
(Contributed by the China Society for the Study of Folk Literature and Art) 
The Chinese version appeared in the Chinese Social Sciences Today, No 388, Dec. 5, 2012.
(Translated by Feng Daimei)