Documenting and Constructing Comprehensive Database of Epic Oral Narratives (Dastan) of Uyghur, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China
Author: Dawut, Rahile
Affiliation: Xinjiang University

Uyghur Epic oral narratives (dastan) are long, eventful works, using prose narrative and poetic descriptions to richly depict social life. Their performance demands specialist performers (dastanchi) who are musically and instrumentally adept. In recent years, dastans are facing an urgent crisis in performance, transmission and preservation, and are consequently quickly disappearing. The loss of performing spaces, the decline in participants and rapidly aging dastanchi have combined to lead to an erosion of the local folk epic narrative tradition.

In this paper, I discuss the documentation work that we have undertaken in recent years and address problems that we encountered in the processes.