Project to translate heroic Tibetan epic nearly complete
CGTN

The translation work of the Tibetan poem "Epic of King Gesar" is nearly complete, said researchers working on the project in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Wednesday. 

Since the translation project began in 2014, experts and researchers have translated 25 out of the 30 volumes into the Chinese language, 15 of which have been published. 

Containing hundreds of volumes with more than a million verses, the “Epic of King Gesar” is arguably the longest existing heroic epic in the world. It is said to be an encyclopedia of Tibetan society.

The published Chinese version of the "Epic of King Gesar" and other books are on display in Tibet, China. /VCG Photo

The published Chinese version of the "Epic of King Gesar" and other books are on display in Tibet, China. /VCG Photo

The epic has only been passed down orally by singers, often illiterate herders and farmers, and in this way, has been preserved until today.

Read more: Gesar epic tradition: A window to Tibetan culture

Starting in the 1980s, the Tibetan Academy of Social Science has been saving the epic from vanishing, by recording the songs and writing them down. A number of wandering singers have become protectors of the epic, sustaining it through songs. 

Back in 2014, 50 experts and researchers joined the project, led by the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences, with a total investment of 7.66 million yuan (1.13 million U.S. dollars). 

Now, 80 percent of the translation work has been finished, and a complete set of the Chinese-version  “Epic of King Gesar” will meet its readers soon.