The International Archive of Oral Folk Literature at the Northrhine-Westfaiian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Düsseldorf/Germany
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
The International Archive of Oral Folk Literature at the Northrhine-Westfalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Duesseldorf/Germany was founded in 1994 by the Mongolist Walther Heissig, University of Bonn, and the Ethnologist Rüdiger Schott, University of Münster, both members of the Academy. The archive containes tape recordings of oral literature from Africa (North Ghana), the Philippines, India (North India, Ladakh), Pakistan (Hunza, Baltistan), China (Inner Mongolia) and Mongolia. The largest collection is the Mongolian section, consisting of 267 tape cassettes. The major part of the Mongolian tapes are recordings of epics, Mongolian adaptations of Chinese folk romances (“stories accompanied by the fiddle”, quγur-un üliger) and shamanic songs. A large number of the cassettes have been transcribed by the Mongolian scholars Rinchindorji and Nima in 90 handwritten volumes.
The paper presents a general survey of the collection and its scientific value as well as a special report on a research project dealing with the Mongolian collection. The project has started in 2008. It is carried out by the Mongolist and Sinologist Dr. Elisabetta Chiodo. Dr. Chiodo has already published a detailed study on ritual songs devoted to the shamanic deity Jayagachi as well as a paper dealing with the biographies of East Mongolian bards. The manuscript of a catalogue of the transcripts of the Mongolian tapes is ready for printing. It includes detailed summaries of the contents and an introduction dealing with the different genres represented by the collection. The future work will be devoted to the translation and commentary of an East Mongolian version of the Geser epic, to the analysis of “stories accompanied by the fiddle” and the edition and interpretation of shamanic songs.
The paper is also meant to invite other scholars to make use of the rich materials of the Düsseldorf collection of oral literature.