John Miles Foley, Founding Editor

Butterflies and Dragon-Eagles: Processing Epics from Southwest China

Abstract

In the mountains of southwest China, epic narratives are part of the traditional performance-scapes of many ethnic minority cultures. In some cases locals participate in the preservation of oral or oral-connected epics from their respective areas. This article discusses the dynamics of acquiring and translating texts from two major ethnic minority groups in cooperation with local tradition-bearers, poets, and scholars.

eCompanion

Jin Dan pointing to his signature on a manuscript from the 1950s.

Photo: Mark Bender

Jin Dan with his daughter, Wu Yifang, and his son, Wu Yiwen.

Photo: Mark Bender

Climbing a landslide on the way to Jjivo Zoqu’s homestead.

Photo: Mark Bender

Jjivo Zoqu reciting a passage from the Book of Origins.

Photo: Mark Bender

Cultural and performance contexts of the Miao (Hmong) epics.

Video: Mark Bender

Cultural and performance context of Jjivo’s text of the Nuosu Book of Origins.

Video: Mark Bender

Table of Contents

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