is a collection of epic songs from the rich oral tradition of the Miao (Hmong) people of southwest China. These poetic narratives, traditionally performed by two groups of singers, relate the creation of a world in which everything is alive, and listeners find that besides mountains, rivers, trees, and creatures, inanimate objects are also 'born' and have spirits. In his engaging introduction, Mark Bender places these mythic narratives in their social and historical context, describing the workings and traditions of Miao society.
Brimming with cultural lore, Butterfly Mother is a virtual encyclopedia of time-honored myths, legends, and folk customs of the Miao people.
Mark Bender is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University.