CONTINUITIES AND DISCONTINUITIES IN THE ORAL TRANSMISSION OF THE TIBETAN GESER EPIC
Vienna Board of Education Vienna, Austria
For Tibetans, especially for the ones with a pastoral background, bardic performances represent a constant source of inspiration and identification. They establish continuity in preserving a Tibetan heritage. However, over the centuries they have tended to become a vehicle for carrying the ideologies of the rulers in power. Whether the oral performances of the Geser bards will cease to exist or whether their placement on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in 2009 will successfully safeguard the transmission of the Tibetan Geser epic remains an open question. In the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China the orally reported sources remain manifold and the work on the publications of the many episodes of the epic continues. Therefore, it is certain that the Geser epic will retain its importance, even if it is yet to be seen which forms it will take on in the future.