The Tuzu Gesar Epic: Performance and Singers

The Gesar epic is a Tibetan heroic epic widely spread across the vast ethnic regions of China. It amounts to an encyclopedia that illustrates the life of ancient Tibetans. It has been in contact with other traditional ethnic cultures, and therefore has multiethnic characteristics. The Tuzu Gesar is a long epic, comprised of alternating prose and verse, that has been greatly influenced by the Tibetan Gesar. Tuzu (the minority group is called Tu) is a spoken language with no written system. The great performers of this epic have passed away, leaving only Wang Yongfu, 79 years old and now ill. Thus it is extremely urgent to study and to protect the Tuzu Gesar as performed by him. This paper offers a brief introduction to the content, distribution areas, and historical context of the epic.