Mongolian government has approved in 2011 decree-357 which is about following the National Safeguarding Plan “Epic art of Mongolia” in order to inherit and keep the Mongolian epic as it is and to support and glorify the epic storytellers. Also to keep the traditions around the art of epic. This Plan includes following works; to disseminate art of epic, recover and study the art, to make society know this art, to support government and non-government organizations involvement. To organize competitions and festivals under the topic, glorify the epic storytellers and to show financial support, etc.
Actions took in order to inherit and protect Mongolian art of epic:
A. Field study and inventorying
- There were total 7 to 8 people registered in Mongolia as an epic story tellers in 2009, by the time when we were making research to get register “Mongolian Epic” in UNESCO’s cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding list. But now there are 20 talented people who got that official title “epic storyteller” and they are inheriting this scarce and precious heritage. They all represent the tribes called Urianhai, Bayad, Durvud and Khalha. The epic stories are:
- There are big and small around 30 Epic stories are included in their repertory and there is a positive vision in the future of Epic art and its practices.
B. Safeguarding and Transmission
- In order to recover the tradition of epic storytelling, we chose the method to inherit the oldest inheritors’ knowledge and talent to their children and younger generations. Centre for Cultural Heritage made in 2011 apprentice training contract with epic storyteller N.Damdindorj from Hovd province. He in charge of inheriting the Urianhai epic storytelling to the offspring the main inheritors. There are around 30 children attending in that training and they are learning following epic stories; “Worship of Altai”, “Narankhaan khuu” and “Dovon khar Bukh”.
- Also cooperated with Punsantsovoo from Uvs province in order to keep and protect the Dorvod type of Epic stories. There are 7 to 8 people are attending in his training and they started to learn “Worship of Altai” and “Khangal tashaa har kheer moritoi Khaan tsergiin hovguun”. Storyteller the D.Ulzii has been working actively and initiatively to inherit the Khalha epic stories and his early apprentices became well known artists in the society. Also Khalha storyteller B.Bayarmagnai closely working with both city and countryside high schools. He is demonstrating how to sing/tell the epic stories “Geser” and “Jangar” for secondary and high school students in their schools in order to disseminate this art.
- “National check-up for Epic art repertory” has organized in October 11th till 13th in 2012 in order to keep and protect “Mongolian Epic art”, to increase their repertory, to prepare the inheritors of future generation, to value storytellers’ talent and ability, to give them title and degrees and to glorify them. There were total 17 participants from Ulaanbaatar and Bayan-Ulgii, Uvs, Hovd, Dornogobi provinces were selected for the last performance day. E.Baatarjav got “Bronze Gerege”, N.Ankhbayar got “Silver Gerege” and A.Baldandorj got “Gold Gerege”.
- Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism conducts National Art Festival once in every three years and the last one organized in 2011. Uvs province’s Dorvod epic storyteller Sh.Punsantsogvoo and Bayad epic storyteller N.Ankhbayar got “Gold Star” prizes.
- Urianhai’s “Altan Huree” 7th Art and Sport festival organized in March 30-31st in 2012 in Orkhon aimag and 300 participants competed by 17 different art and sport ways. B.Bold got the first prize in the Epic story telling/singing performance.
C. Raising the awareness, dissemination and promotion
- Hovd province is well known by its many tribes. “Horde of heritage and culture” has established on 25th July 2010 in that province. This hall has each tribe’s halls such as; Hall of Zakhchin, Torguud and Urianhai etc. Cultural presentation of each tribe is being performed there and keeps disseminating their heritages. People started to hear epic story’s music and singing/telling in those halls during national celebrations and special days.
- The famous epic storyteller Parchin’s fame display placed in a local museum of Hyargas soum of Uvs province. Visitors can learn about his biography and his inherited heritage.
- In order to encourage and support the epic storytellers who influenced in inheritance and development of Epic art, we registered four epic storytellers in the national list of the talented people who inherited ICH in high level and gave them certificates. In result, general social view and value towards art of epic has improved.
- Epic storytellers started to get invited to perform in famous mountain worshipping ceremonies such as; Munkh hairhan, Otgontenger and Han Hohii etc.
- Science Academy’s Linguistic department’s oral literacy section organized in 2011, international science research meeting for the 100 years anniversary of the birth of famous epic storyteller S.Choisuren.
- Also the Academy published research and dissemination books during the reporting period: “Epics of S.Choisuren”, “Oral literacy of Mongol Urianhai”, “Saved Epics”, “Famous epic storytellers and their epics”, “Story and epics told by Gongor”, “Compared research of the epic of Jangar” and “Jangar”.
- Photo exhibition of the epic storytellers, introduction and related booklets were printed for the National check-up ceremony and all the news were disseminated by media. Also around 40 video materials got kept in Registration and Information Foundation archive. This activity will be held once in every two years in the future.
- "Central Asian Epics" II International symposium and festival has been held in Ulaanbaatar from 5-7th August, 2013. This event has gathered over 100 epic scholars, researchers and epic singers from 9 countries. Participants have discussed and shared their experiences and give their recommendations.