What is it about?

The aim of the paper is to trace out the varieties of the motif of The Life Story of Moon Cuckoo - the Tibetan narrative and Mongolian opera - through the literatures of Central Asia, India and Middle East. This motif tells about a prince who is tricked into entering the body of a cuckoo; later on, he is not able to regain his human form, stolen by his evil-minded companion.

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Why is it important?

The transmission of this motif (plot) is a vivid example of Tibet-Mongolian literary contacts, but goes far beyond that. It shows the ties of both Tibetan and Mongolian literature to India (in oral, as well as the written literature) on one hand, and the distinction between the same motif transferred into two culturally different environments (i.e. Centra Asia and the Middle East) on the other.


Research on cultural, literary and language contacts is like solving a mystery or a detective story. And the deeper you dig the more fascinating these ‘encountersʼ are.

Veronika Kapišovská
Charles University, Czech Republic

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A Prince in the Body of a Parrot (Cuckoo), Inner Asia, October 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/22105018-02302031.
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