On Clan-based Inheritance and Continuity of the Kirgiz Epic Manas
Author: Lang, Ying
Affiliation: Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The epic performing skills of Manaschis (Kyrgyz epic singers) are mainly acquired on a clan-based mode of teaching-learning practices. The clan-based inheritance is a major way of fostering a Manas performer. In my presentation, I will discuss about transmission of Manas epic from nowadays towards future, based on the findings of a long-term field study carried out in Akqi County and Wuqia County, Xinjiang.

1. The clan-based inheritance within patrilineal families: case studies of three Master Manaschis, namely Maoldak Jakep (1920-2008), Jusup Mamay (1918- ), and Eshimat Mamubet (1880-1963) .

2. The clan-based inheritance within matrilineal families: case studies of three Master Manaschis, namely Mutalip Kurme’ale (1945- ), Satahon Kadir (1942- ), and Satwaldi Ale (1933-2006).

Both Akqi County and Wuqia County boast a long history of epic singing tradition. In these two counties there are considerably large teams of epic singers composed of different age groups. The 21st century has seen a sharp shrink in terms of epic singers and audience in some Kyrgiz communities, but the visibility and variability of the present living epic tradition can be observed in these two counties, calling for further attention from scholarly communities.