Walther Heissig mit dem Barden Dorǰi
The bard Dorǰi (middle) and Walther Heissig (right)
The bard Nimaodzer

About the Project

The project “Oral Tales of Mongolian Bards” is devoted to the internet publication of eighteen oral tales performed by bards of eastern Inner Mongolia, including four epic poems and fourteen tales based on Chinese adventure novels, known as quγur-un üliger “tales of the fiddle”, viz. tales accompanied by the music of the four-stringed fiddle (quγur, huur). The tales form a portion of a large collection of tales, oral histories of bards, and ritual songs of Qorčin (Horchin) Mongol shamans. The collection is currently preserved at the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts in Düsseldorf. Eleven of the tales are provided with long English summaries, five of them with commentaries, while seven tales are made available with short summaries.

As to how the tales became a collection, in 1984, 1986, 1991, and 1995, the late Professor Walther Heissig, the distinguished Mongolist of Bonn University, recorded part of the tales on tape from the oral performance of bards (quγurči, the fiddle player) in different regions of eastern Inner Mongolia.

More about the Project


  1. The short summaries are taken from the catalogue compiled by Elisabetta Chiodo with the title The Walther Heissig Collection of Mongolian Oral Literature.Paderborn 2011. ↩