THE GREAT EPIC "MANAS"
The great epos "Manas" is the biggest
epic poetic narration in the world. It contains more then a million lines
and is 20 times bigger then Oddisey and Illiad together and 2,5 times bigger
then Mahabharaty. It appeared more then a thousand years ago and was passed
around and through the centuries by a word of mouth inherited by every next
generation sharpened by talented poets who have developed esthetic shape of
Manas reflects entire history of kyrgyz people starting
from about 10th century. The basis of the epos is description of valorous
feats of the central hero Manas uniting his nation suffering from ivasions
of foreign tribes and federations. But content of the epos is much wider then
traditional heroic narrative. In its texts along with main scenes describing
peoples herosm exists peacefull everyday life of nation, its traditions, customs,
colorfull descriptions of feasts and funerals.
Another unique art of Kyrgyz people is tradition
of "manaschi" - professional Manas storytellers. People called "manaschi"
are welcome and respected in any house. They usualy remember not less then
a hundred thousand lines of the epos and share their knoledge with public
on special feast occasions in a very colorfull way. Manaschi while improvising
and telling parts of the epic fall into a condition very common to trans when
they experience and feel themselves a part of what they are telling about.
Voice of manaschi turns into singing at most colorfull parts and their gesticulation
makes listeners imagine themselves participants of the story as well.
Heroic Epic Manas is the greatest art-property of
the Kyrgyz people, handed down from generation to generation and refined over
the centuries, it is a living heritage of the "Aksakal" the wise
sages and the "manaschy", the oral narrators. The "EPOS MANAS"
contains a wealth of ancient wisdom. It traces the origins and historical
roots of many communities of Central Asia, hence it is a most valued ethnological
and cultural source material. Today it occupies a most worthy place amongst
the masterpieces of popular literature of the world. In recognition Unesco
declared the year 1995 as the "Year of Manas".
The Kyrgyz are by tradition proud nomadic people
who excel in horse games, hunting and hospitality. Their creative genius is
imbibed in oral narratives such us the Manas. A wealth of oral literature
depicts the spiritual vision of their forefathers and well be described as
the great "Verbal Art Heritage" of the Kyrgyz people; inestimable
cultural property of mankind.
The EPOS is not something of the past, merely of
archaic and historic value. It is a most active tool of practical significance
in modern times. A living heritage of a proud and progressive people portraying
the cultural image, the spiritual values and nomadic life- styles of the Kyrgyz
society. Like the Asian drama, the EPOS is a moralizing force guiding and
governing the lives of people in day to day affairs. Manas is a rediscovery
of social, cultural and political events in the modern history of sovereign
Kyrgyzstan as well as its universal message for mankind.
The EPOS remains till date a principle source of
the origin of professional arts not only of Kyrgyz but also of the art, opera,
drama, music, graphics, sculpture, painting and architecture of many communities
of Central Asia. It lends historical meanings and unites many communities
through common bonds of friendship. It reveals a continuity of ancient communal
links over generations. The Epos is indeed a commonwealth of nationalities.