The Gesar Epic

Ulrich T. Kragh utkragh at HUM.KU.DK
Fri Oct 4 05:28:07 UTC 2002

Dear Lars Martin Fosse,
a sleepless tibetologist had some entertainment out of your request. Here
follows a selected list of what I found to have some valuable. I am sure the
list of literature is not exhaustive, since this is certainly not one of my
Sincerely, Ulrich T. Kragh
University of Copenhagen
A very amusing (but not in any way academic) translation of one version of
the epic is found in "The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling" transl. from
Tibetan by Alexandra David-Neel and Lama Yongden, reprinted by Shambhala in
1987. It is worth the read since it is very entertaining and can be read
quite fast.

You'll find several references to further literature at:
That homepage is published by the China Tibet Information Center, an
institute in China. Notice that Tibet University in Lhasa has made
Gesar-studies their speciality, and you will, therefore, find many studies
by Chinese scholars on this subject. The site also mentions important
studies by R. Aurel Stein, see

Excerpts in translation of the epic can be found at:

At the website called "Himalayan Art" (contains a lot of high quality
Tibetan and Bhutanese scroll paintings), you can find several good paintings
of Gesar. Enter search key word "Gesar" on their search page:

Other titles available at the Royal Library of Denmark are:

Siegbert Hummel, 1993, Mythologisches aus Eurasien im Ge-sar Heldenepos der
Tibeter". Engl. translation by Guido Vogliotti 1998 "Eurasian Mythology in
the Tibetan Epic of Gesar".

"Die Eroberung der Burg von Sum-pa : aus dem tibetischen Gesar-Epos",  hrsg.
und übersetzt von Rudolf Kaschewsky und Pema Tsering, 1987, Harassowitz,
vol. I-II (second vol. is the Tibetan text, vol. I contains a translation).

Silke Herrmann, "Kesar-Versionen aus Ladakh", Harrassowitz, 1991.

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