Kyrgyz epic trilogy: Manas, Semetey, Seytek marks_1
  • Manage No, Sortation, Country, Writer ,Date, Copyright
    Manage No EE00000365
    Country Kyrgyzstan
    ICH Domain Oral traditions and representations Performing Arts Knowledge and practices about nature and the universe
    All regions of Kyrgyzstan
    Year of Designation 2008
Description Kyrgyz Epic Trilogy "Manas. Semetey. Seytek" represents three interconnected parts of Epos created more than millennium ago. Manas is the epic hero who united scattered tribes into one nation – Kyrgyz. Deeds of Manas were continued by his son Semetey and his grandson Seytek. Trilogy became the immortal spirit and basic identity of the Kyrgyz. Kyrgyz people did not preserve their written language, therefore, they attach great importance to the oral Trilogy which has preserved their historical memory. World-wide known writer Chinghiz Aitmatov stressed that Epic Trilogy is a synonym of Kyrgyz and is an encyclopaedia of their life. It is one of the biggest epics in the world; its version contains 500 553 lines. Today there are more than 80 versions. Kyrgyz people say: “There is no Trilogy without tellers”. Trilogy lives thanks to community of epic tellers - manaschies, semeteychies, seytekchies. Continuous epic narration may last many hours in a row. Epic tellers believe that Trilogy narration is their mission assigned from above; it gives them sense of identity and continuity.
Social and cultural significance Epic tellers’ community is highly respected in the country. They are honoured to open all national holidays, festivals, concerts. They provide moral and spiritual support to local communities and individuals during social events, conflicts or disasters. Epic tellers consider Trilogy as cultural heritage for which they take personal responsibility. They say that "they are assigned a special mission: to safeguard, tell and transmit the genetic memory of Kyrgyz people". Trilogy provides them with a sense of social and spiritual identity. Joint performances enhance mutual respect and social solidarity among communities. In the epoch of globalization, Trilogy helps young people to understand better their national identity. In the epoch of virtual electronic communication, epic telling is an alive communication. As a component of formal education, Trilogy provides rich knowledge about history, culture, natural environment, peoples of the world, promotes ideas of tolerance, multi-ethnic state, enhances formation of ecological worldview. Trilogy is a state spiritual symbol of the country and equalled to the status of National Anthem, State Emblem and Flag what is reflected in the Law on “Epic Trilogy”.
Transmission method Today, knowledge and skills related to the element are transmitted in different ways. Basic way of transmitting knowledge, skills and experience is through informal education “ustat-shakirt” (master-apprentice). Experienced epic tellers have their students to whom they transmit their knowledge and skills. Key role belongs to spiritual component: interpretation of prophetic dreams, moral norms. Important components are public performances, where students master their skills. Their improvisations are based on traditional plot and are tested by listeners’ reaction. They perform at various public events: from village events to nation-wide celebrations and holidays. Besides traditional oral transmission of knowledge and skills, epic tellers use printed publications of Trilogy versions and modern technologies. Today, a full video-version of "Manas" and "Semetey" have been created, performed by contemporary recognized epic tellers, which is a visual way of transmitting the two first parts of Trilogy. Epic Trilogy is an obligatory subject in formal educational system – from kindergartens to universities. Ministry of Education jointly with epic tellers has developed educational programmes on Epic Trilogy. National Conservatoire and National Philharmonic Society opened departments for Trilogy narration. Specialists and researchers of Trilogy develop academic knowledge in close cooperation with bearers and practitioners. Many epic tellers make researches themselves and publish their works. Important role in transmission of Trilogy belongs to elderly connoisseurs. Knowledge about the element is transmitted through feature films, documentaries, fiction, theatrical plays based on the Trilogy motives. In spite of the great volume of Trilogy, majority of Kyrgyz knows its basic plot and its heroes.
Community The community of Trilogy Epic tellers: manaschy-"Manas" Epic tellers; semeteychy-"Semetey" Epic tellers; seytekchy-"Seytek" Epic tellers. The most prominent epic tellers and of the young generations, representative of Trilogy Epic tellers' community: Saparbek Kasmanbetov, Nazarkul Seidrahmanov, Salimbay Tursunbaev, Talaantaly Bakchiev, Ryspai Isakov, Zamirbak Bayaliev, Mirlan Jumaliev, Kamil Mamadaliev, Doolotbek Sydykov, Samat Kochorbaev, Tilek Asanov, Kuban Almabekov, Ulan Ismailov, Saykal Abylkasymova, Umot. Great contribution to preservation of the element is made also by representatives of Epic Trilogy researches' community: Center for Safeguarding and Research of Epic Heritage, Institutes of the National Academy of Science, PF "Manas Muras", "Aitysh", Cultural Research Center "Aigine".
Type of UNESCO List Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Incribed year in UNESCO List 2013
Information source
National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO

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