Himalayan Art Resources

King: Gesar Main Page

Gesar Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography

- Religious Context

Video: Gesar

Gesar is a folk hero of Eastern Tibet and predominantly known through literature and live performance. He is believed to have lived around the 10th century. The stories of Gesar, epic in size, are brought to life through dramatic performances, song and public readings of his many adventures. This Gesar can be termed Literary Gesar. It is quite possibly the longest epic poetry in the world. Despite the popularity of all of this there is relatively little found in the way of art: paintings, murals and sculpture. What objects are known are also dated very late - 19th and 20th centuries. Primarily derived from the writings of Ju Mipham this later version of Gesar can be termed Religious Gesar. The general depiction of Gesar is of a Tibetan warrior, atop a horse, clad in armor and a helmet with elaborate flag pennants and streamers, accompanied by eight horseman and up to thirty horsemen.

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Jeff Watt, 8-2009 [updated 11-2011, 5-2017, 2-2020]


From the Treasury of Tibetan Pictorial Art: Painted Scrolls of the Life of Gesar. Editor-in-Chief, Zhang Changhong. Forward by Leonard van der Kuijp. Sichuan Museum, 2012. ISBN: 978-7-101-08513-6.