UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritages in China (Ⅳ)

(People's Daily Online) 15:23, May 30, 2023

Editor's note:

China has 43 items on the intangible cultural heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the most enlisted country in the world. Now, please join us to appreciate some outstanding items.


The item, "Manas" was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

The Kirgiz ethnic minority in China, concentrated in the Xinjiang region in the west, pride themselves on their descent from the hero Manas, whose life and progeny are celebrated in one of the best-known elements of their oral tradition: the Manas epic.

Traditionally sung by a Manaschi without musical accompaniment, epic performances takes place at social gatherings, community celebrations, ceremonies such as weddings and funerals and dedicated concerts.

Regional variations abound, but all are characterized by pithy lyrics with phrases that now permeate the everyday language of the people, melodies adapted to the story and characters, and lively parables. The long epic records all the major historic events of greatest importance for the Kirgiz people and crystallizes their traditions and beliefs.


(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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