Paperback, 214 pages, 5.5x8.5, English
by Mark Bender
This book is a collection of epics from the Miao (Hmong) ethnic group of southwest China. The poetic narratives, traditionally performed by two groups of singers, relate the creation of the world and the people and creatures in it. One of the major figures in one series of the songs is Butterfly Mother (Mai Bang), a personified butterfly who lays the eggs that eventually lead to the creation of the local peoples. Rich in cultural lore, these mythic narratives are virtual encyclopedias of traditional myths, legends, and folk customs of the Miao people.
"Talk about 'persistent cultures' - this translation of the great epic, mythic tellings of the Miao (Hmong) peoples is a window into a huge ancient soul of sustainable spirit and practice. Mark Bender's commentary provides context and detail of places and singers that make it even richer. This book provides new insights into how deeply oral recitation and performance can be embedded in a whole society, and some fresh, stunning stories." - Gary Snyder, author of Mountains and Rivers Without End