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An epic tale worth telling

Updated: 2022-07-04 08:05 ( CHINA DAILY )
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A depiction by Elzati Eshantol of Manas leading the Kirgiz tribes against marauders. CHINA DAILY

Kirgiz folk hero comes back to life with courageous deeds portrayed in gripping detail, Xu Haoyu reports.

It takes a warrior to not just win a war, but to organize peace in times of conflict, Greek polymath Aristotle once said. A shining example of this is the Epic of Manas, which extols the virtues of one Kirgiz man who, according to legend, united 40 indigenous tribes against bloodthirsty invaders.

Said to be 20 times longer than Homer's Odyssey, the Epic of Manas spans eight chapters in 18 volumes and boasts more than 234,000 lines. It is among the greatest folklores of the Kirgiz people, one of China's ethnic groups, and has become the subject of modern-day music and art.

The epic is named after the warrior Manas and covers the life of his descendants for eight generations. Manas not only led Kirgiz tribes against marauders, but also brought traitors to justice and empowered the weak.

"While large tracts of wasteland have turned into lakes, the lakes and seas have turned into mulberry fields; when the hills have turned into gullies and the snow peaks have changed their appearance, the story of the hero Manas has been passed on from generation to generation. The story of the lion Manas has linked people in flesh and blood"-reads a roughly translated excerpt from the epic.

The original tale was passed orally from performer to performer, who were known as manaschi. However, the epic's spirit of solidarity and perseverance has been presented in various literary forms, including narrative poetry, lyrics, proverbs and aphorisms.

The Epic of Manas records nomadic life in the Middle Ages, the historical developments, the customs of the Kirgiz people, nature's beauty in the form of icebergs and grasslands, and also exchanges between the East and the West in ancient times. Together, it is a well-rounded encyclopedia covering history, geography, religion, economy, marriage, customs, music, painting and language.

For thousands of years, performers have sung the Epic of Manas, processing and embellishing ancient wisdom. The talent of past generations has been consolidated, and its content and form have become richer.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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