King Gesar A Touch of Gesar Gesar Studies Gesar Artist Gesar Bards Foreign Influence  
Tibetan literature, especially folk literature, already had a complete variety of categories like myths, legends, stories and poetry, abundant in contents and numerous. From the folk literature works, King Gesar derived good literature tradition. There are countless Tibetan proverbs drawn from it, some are completely quoted, and some are modified such as the following:
Poems like this can be found in King Gesar anywhere and everywhere. This form of poetry composition was formed and fixed at around the 11th century and has not changed much till now, being widely adopted in Tibetan folk songs, ballades, long songs, poems in lyric prose, poetry parts in Tibetan opera, and poetry works of writers and scholars, becoming the most influential and most important form in Tibetan poetry.
In the form of poetry and prose, by means of singing while narrating, the epic King Gesar successfully blends true stories, myths, poems, fables, sayings and proverbs together, and develops into a masterpiece that has gathered together all that is good in Tibetan folk culture.

Many parts of King Gesar come from folk songs, myths and stories, and in turn, it has become a rich source for the gathering and art works. For example, many tunes of the later folk songs and dances are derived from King Gesar, and some of which directly sing the praises of Gesar and his queen. For another example, lots of the various myths and folk tales draw their material from King Gesar. The well-known Story about Seven Brothers is a natural and interesting mingled piece of the story that the seven brothers built high buildings for the people and the story of King Gesar. Another example is that the numerous but unique painting and sculpture works are also based on the story of King Gesar, some of which have been made mural paintings and some of which have taken Gesar as the Buddhist Guardians and made him sculptures for worship. Moreover, the poetry sections of the prose-poetic King Gesar serve as a link between the past and the future, a bridge across the ancient and the modern, in the history of Tibetan poetry, which is shown in the ideology, figures of speech, and especially in the composition of the poems. Take the following for example.

The stripes on the ferocious tiger king are so splendid, It strolls to the sandalwood grove to show off its power. Of what avail are the stripes if it cannot show off its power? The wild yak is at a wonderful young age. It climbs to the black rock hill to sway its horns. Of what avail is the young age if it cannot sway its horns? The white mouth of the wild steed is so beautiful. It wants to gallop freely in the vast grassland. Of what avail is the white mouth if it cannot gallop in the grassland? Tangze, a hero from the State of Hor, is so handsome. He comes to the State of Ling in order to win the contest. Of what avail is the appearance if he cannot win the contest?


In King Gesar, there are various laudatory sections like Laud to Wine, Laud to Mountain, Laud to Tea, Laud to Horses, Laud to Knives and Swords, Laud to Clothes, Laud to Suits of Armor etc. The famous Laud to Wine is like this:

This bowl of wine in my hand, Is not ordinarily made In the blue sky of the far heaven, Thunder roars like the Green Dragon. Lightning flashes like glowing fire, Fine raindrops like sweet dew. With the essence of the pure sweet dew, People on earth make tasty wine.

The first step of making tasty wine Is to plant crops in the fields The fields are fertile for the crops to grow, In autumn people reap the crops with sickles. Bulls abreast on the threshing ground rumble, Pulling the stoneroller to thresh the crop Winnowing is the shovel made of white popular. The wind blows blighted seeds away, And good seeds left were put into four-squared granary. The granary is bursting with grains of qingke (highland barley). When people make qingke wine they are wild with joy. They build up the Han style kitchen range. The pot is made of good bronze in good-luck pattern. They wipe the inside of the pot with clean white towel, And pour in clear water to boil the seeds. The fire in the cooking stove is in raging flames. They spread the boiled qingke out on the felt, Mixed with best distiller’s yeast It takes a year to make year wine. Year wine is called sweet dew sweet. Month wine takes a month to make, And is called sweet dew cold One-day-made is the one-day wine. Day wine has the name sweet dew whirl. Officers in authority drink it. Mind broadens beyond the heaven. Coward soldiers drink it, In the battlefield bravely charging It is rare in Tibetan-inhabited areas, But its benefits are numerous. It is imperial wine for your majesty. It is reassuring wine for the man who worries. It is exciting wine that makes people rise to sing and dance.


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