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China to publish 370-volume Tibetan epic in 2019

China says it will publish the most complete collection yet of the Tibetan epic King Gesar of Ling next year. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)
China says it will publish the most complete collection yet of the Tibetan epic King Gesar of Ling next year. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct17, 2018) – China says it will publish the most complete collection yet of the Tibetan epic King Gesar of Ling next year. The Chinese and English versions of the story are also underway, said China’s official Xinhua news agency Oct 16.

Compared to other epics, the Tibetan one is of relatively recent origin, with scholars dating its events to the 11th century. It tells the story of how a Tibetan demigod king conquered his enemies and helped the ordinary people.

Researchers have obtained many different editions of the epic among the Tibetan people as well as different versions published over the last 60 years, the report noted.

The report said the collection will contain over 370 volumes exceeding 80 million words. It added that some of the versions it includes will be shown to the public for the first time.

The epic has been passed down orally by balladeers who were often illiterate herders and farmers in different parts of Tibet and Mongolia, with most of them having acquired the gift in dreamlike incidents.

China cites its Gesar project as proof of its concern for the protection of Tibetan culture which is, however, being eroded by its ongoing sinicization of Tibetan religion and culture policy and the scale of its development projects which draw massive influx of Chinese immigrants to Tibet.

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