Yana Leman (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow) ““Moon Cuckoo” of Danzanravjaa and Mongolian Theater”


Danzanravjaa is a Mongolian lama of the XIX century, who opened a few new pages in Mongolian culture. He is considered to be one of the first Mongolian lyric poets, initiating amorous poetry and bringing authorial principle to canonical Buddhist literature. The “Moon Cuckoo” (Saran khökhöö) is the first Mongolian drama based on the work of a Tibetan monk Tagphu Lobsang Tenpe Gyeltshen, “The Tale of the Moon Cuckoo” (mgrin sngon zla ba’i rtogs brjod), a story about an Indian prince who was robbed of his human body by virtue of karma and lived in a bird’s body preaching the teaching of Buddha to people and animals. This drama marks the beginning of theatre in Mongolia. It used the traditions of theatre in Tibet and China, adapting them at the same time to peculiar national features. This led to the creation of a special performance, seemingly a synthesis of Buddhist sermon, opera, and show. It was also a platform for using and developing Mongolian national applied arts.