周爱明.历史文献记录中的《格萨尔》口头传统[J].民族学刊,2019,10(1):47-56, 112-113
The Gesar Oral Tradition Recorded in Historical Documents
中文关键词: 《格萨尔》  口头传统  仲肯  书写
英文关键词: King Gesar  Oral Tradition  Ling Kesar  The Lhasa Hand-copied Version  Three Kingdom in Tibetan  Sheh Version  Khalatse Version
周爱明 《中国西藏》杂志社 
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      When did the story of King Gesar, the world famous oral epic which has been very widespread in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau since ancient time, come into being? Who are the creators of this masterpiece of oral tradition? And, how did it developed into the world’s longest epic? Apparently, there does not yet seem to be a definite answer. Starting from sporadic records of King Gesar extracted from Tibetan and Han historical documents, this article attempts to clarify the development and transmission of the oral tradition of King Gesar through textual studies and deep analysis. During the prosperous period of the Tubo Kingdom, Gesar was indeed a lord who was as famous as Songtsan Gampo. His name was frequently mentioned in historical books written during the period of the Tubo Kingdom and Tang Dynasty, which indicates his popularity in the oral tradition. In the 14th century, Jamyang Gyaltsen, a great guru, detailed stories about Lynn Gesar as well as several of his ministers in the book titled the Historic Chronicles of Lang’s Family. The stories spanned the 9th to the 14th century, and show that the Lynn Gesar stories have been transferred from oral tradition to historical documents. They also illustrate that Lynn Gesar had already vowed to “drive away devils”, and perpetually keep faith in Buddhism, assisted by over 30 senior generals, including Skumlum, Khrothung, Gyiacha Shekar, and Pande. However, during this historical period, Gesar was still a common lord wielding power in the Lynn territory and was in pursuit of immortality in the human world. The book titled The Origin of the Ten Thousand Households of the Qiangpa Family Lineage illustrates, that during the earlier period of Syaga Pa (about the second half of the 13th Century), King Gesar increased his power via the assistance of several competent staff, including Masang and Gasde, and that they camped at the foot of Mt. Sogyawu, situated in the location between Tibet and the hinterland. In the 18th century, a Tibetan scholar, Songpa Yeshe Khenpo, in his letter replying to Panchen Padeyeshe, wrote down a complete set of the Gesar oral tradition. In this, the following principle information was rendered to readers: 1) Gesar was born at Nyima Gunqi, the intersection of three rivers, and his parents were Long and Gyaru; 2) After his birth, his uncle, Throthung, forced him to reside at the source of the Yellow River, where he was disciplined and acquired his heroic character; 3) Gesar married Meisha Pengji and Dromu Ji, one after another, and he was accompanied by a chestnut horse with a white forehead named Jamgor Yewa; 4) His wife, Meisha, was robbed by a “local” evil demon (Mor), but afterwards, with the assistance of Meisha, Gesar killed the snake affiliated with the demon Mor, and finally killed the demon; 5) After that time, Gesar and Meisha resided at the demon’s residence for about nine years. However, during this period, his other wife, Drolmu Ji, was abducted by Hor, and became Hor’s concubine; 6) Gesar, using iron chains, successfully attacked (Hor’s) castle, conquered Hor, and returned triumphantly; 7) On the way to Dan, his horse became frightened, and Gesar fell to the ground and died. Because his two wives were violated successively, Gesar rose up in revolt and finally conquered the evil demon (Mor) and Hor. This implies that conquering the evil demon (Mor) and Hor are the main branches of the source of the King Gesar epic. Moreover, these stories were not colored with religious elements, but rather gave straightforward information about the Gesar oral tradition which prevailed widely in the Kham, U-Tsang (Tibet including Lhasa and Shigatse region) and the Hor region. King Gesar and King Gesar in this oral tradition, in this earlier source, was still somewhat simple way, but the oral tradition had already become a form of entertainment but nevertheless, contained solemn taboos. In the 18th century, Dorka Tsrering Wanggye gathered more than a dozen of famous singers to recite in his official residence. The whole process was recorded and organized.After his approval, the script that was compiled was known as the Lhasa Hand-copies, and it includes the stories of the “Hor Lynn War”, “Hero’s Birth” and “A King Made from Horse Racing”, and so on. During the 17th century, Padma Tenzin compiled a book titled The Conquest of Dashi and Obtaining its Treasures, and in the late 19th to early 20th century Mipang wrote down numerous stories and verses of prayers related to King Gesar. These creative reworking of the King Gesar stories by senior monks from Nyima Sect of Tibetan Buddhism enriched the original King Gesar tradition not only by giving them a more religious orientation, but the monks also added more volumes to the epic, in terms of quantity. This is why Mr. Ren Naiqiang in his survey, conducted between the 1920s and 1930s, discovered a total of 19 hand-written copies, which were named by the Han as “Tibetan Three Kingdoms”. In 1900, A. H. Francke, a missionary from Moravia, recorded two oral singers’ in on-the-spot performances which took place respectively in Sheh Village in Lhadake and in Khalatse Village. His later publications included the original text of the oral tradition, an English-version abstract, glossary and remarks. After 1950, a professional team in the new China oversaw a large scale survey and collection activity of the King Gesar oral tradition. The team especially recorded the singing and oral performances conducted by those people who inherited and carried on the King Gesar oral tradition. These recordings have not only been published and made available publically, but they also make it possible for scholars to carry out profound studies of the King Gesar epic in pursuit of transmitting and displaying the intact master piece of King Gesar oral epic to the world.
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