Two Contributions of the Transcribed Collections of Tibetan Epic Master Singer Samdrup's Oral Performances
Affiliation: The Institute of Ethnology, Tibetan Academy of Social Science

 Gesar Epic is a heroic epic, which was jointly created by Tibetan people during the long process of history. This heroic epic contains many volumes of episodes and spreads all over Tibet. This heroic epic has been reserved via memory of epic bards and verbally transmitted. Nowadays there are about 200 volumes of episodes of Gesar Epic that is the result of constant enrichment when it is transmitted. The characteristics of pending on the transmission of the living bards, it may definitely have to face tragedy of disappearance with the death of the bards. For that reason, Tibet has reinforced the preservation of different episodes of Gesar Epic sung by various bards since the 1980s. Currently 130 volumes of episodes sung by over 20 bards have been recorded. Samdrup, a Gesar Epic bard, claimed that he could sing about 67 volumes of episodes. Samdrup had been cooperating with Tibetan Academy of Social Science and recorded 45 volumes with 2114 cassettes (hours) of Gesar Epic since 1984. The number of volumes and time length of recording made a new record of most recorded folk artist so far.  In 2000, a project of recording, transcribing, collating, and publishing Samdrup's oral performance (hereafter refers to "Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic" was launched. This special project has a goal of publishing 45 volumes, among which 40 volumes have been published, and made two contributions to the development of world’s epic.  

1. Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic filled in a historical gap, as there was no complete edition of single bard’s work of Gesar Epic. According to the whole content of Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic, it can be divided into three sections, opening, battles, and ending. The opening section includes Lhaling (Coming from Heaven), Chakling (The Formation of Ling), Trungling (Birth of Gesar), Tagyuk (Horse Racing) describes the world prior to Gesar became a king; the battle section includes such as Changdui Lutsan (Northern Demon), Horling Yuke (Hor-ling Battle), Cangling Yuke (Cang-ling Battle) and Menling Yuke (Men-ling Battle) etc. describes the heroic battles conducted by Gesar after he became the King of Ling; the ending section has two volumes, Nyaling (Hell And Ling) and Khamsum Dekoi (Pacification of Three Realms), describes wonderful completion. These three sections do not only cover all the sketch of Gesar Epic, but also overall picture of Gesar Epic. Therefore, Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic becomes the most complete and systematic edition of Gesar Epic in the world, which in return filled in the gap, as there was no complete edition of single bard’s work of Gesar Epic.

2.  Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic made a record of longest epic sung by single bard. It is true that Gesar Epic is praised as the longest epic in the world. However, the longest refers to the total number of episodes and the total number of different episodes sung by different bards.  There are 45 volumes with 47 hours for each volume, 48 books sung by bard Samdrup alone. Currently, 43 volumes with 481548 lines of poems have been completed. If we add the 5 volumes yet to be published, the total lines of poems in Samdrup Edition of Gesar Epic will be almost two times more than the total lines (278800) of poems carried in the five greatest epics of the world.