Music, fine art, dance



MONGOLIAN CULTURE: Music, fine art, dance
The rock-painting monuments found on the territory of Mongolia and survived to date from the early Iron Age bring us the message of our ancestors who lived 5000 3000 years ago. These monuments make possible to read the ancient history of Mongolia. The capable depiction of horse-cart, ox-cart attracts the attention of researchers even today. While the earliest rock-paintings depict wild beasts and birds, with the passage of time the ability of depicting gets improved, the paintings show people's life to a greater extent alongside with beasts. These works illustrate hunting scenes, sowing of crops, domestication of animals, ox-cart carriages, and even the intimate relations of men and women.

Stone memorials. The most famous stone memorials found on the teritory of Mongolia belong to the Turkic period. The valuable stone memorials of Toniyukuk, Bilge Khan and Kultegin found in the Orkhon Valley hold the history of the ancestors of today's 70 million Turkish people. These three generals who were the latest leaders of the powerful state in the Central Asia inscribed on the memorial how they had made the great state. The scripts on the side of the memorial are in Runic having a history of 1200 years. The stone memorials, still existing in the Orkhon Valley and evidencing the great history, are registered by UNESCO as cultural heritage.

Mongolian ger. The Mongolian, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people live in ger what the West, following Russians, call yurt. However, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people have given up the portable home of nomads and already transferred to a sedentary way of life. Hut was the first human dwelling 10 thousand years ago. Thereafter, a round form dwelling - ger has been created. Every compounent of a ger is meaningful; “toono” - the upper smoke hole serves for a roof, “hana”- the lattice wall section for a barrier and “uni” - the upper wooden poles for a spear. The girth-ropes express future, present and past times, and the three generations. The valuable objects and religious altars are kept in “hoimor” which is directly opposite the door. As the western section of a ger is occupied by men, male belongings, including saddles and bridles as well as Morin Huur (horse-head fiddle) are kept in the western side. Women occupy the eastern section, where they keep kitchen utensils in a rack. Ger looks like the terrestrial globe. Due to its round-form, it does not store bad energy in its corners. People who live in ger easily get asleep. And spending a night in ger quickly removes one's agitation and anger. The wall felt covering allows air exchange 500 times per hour. Once Chinggis Khaan said that the interior of a ger looked like its owner.

Erdenezuu is a historical religious monument connected with the legendary Kharkhorin city, the ancient capital of Mongolia that remained hidden to the world for 500-600 years. The history of Mongolians has been always evidenced by others' history. The Karkhorin city has become known to the world due to the history of Mongolians written by states that are isolated tens of thousand kilometers away from each other. The Kharkhorin city with over 30 thousand inhabitants was invaded by 100 thousand soldiers of Ming dynasty, and burned down. Later, the stone wall remains were transported, and the current Erdenezuu monastry was constructed. It is no exageration to say that for some time the monastry served not only as the religious center; it is also served as the political and economic center of the Mongolians remained without the capital city.

Learned three states. In the Buddhist religion three states such as India, Tibet and Mongolia are named as learned. Wanchin-Erdene, Dalai Lama and Bogd Gegeen constitute the Buddhist religious monarch system to discover and install each other. Mongolians played a key role in systematizing the Buddhist religious principles and established the colleges which promoted to the development of scientific branches in monasteries. Einstein said that the Buddhist philsophy was the most systematic and scientifc religion. The Buddhism is the most peaceful, while being the most powerful religion.

Dairy products. The main food of Mongolians is meat and dairy products. There is no other nation used to make so many various kinds of products out of milk and consume to such an extent like Mongolians. Later, Tibetians learned from Mongolians how to make dairy products. The people living in rural areas of the country usually have flashing white teeth thanks to the broad consumption of dairy products.

Bielge or dance of the body Bielge is particular to the people of western Mongolia. The dancers make practically no use of their feet. Instead, the dancers principally use only the upper part of their bodies. There are more than ten types of Bielge distinguishable by the movement of arms, especially shoulders, wrist and fingers. Mongolians perform Bielge since their childhood. In olden days the herding neighbors used to get together in their ger to have a fun of dancing Bielge. This way the traditional manner of performing Bielge has been handed down from generation to generation and reached the present time in a somewhat modified form.

Morin Khur, or Horsehead Fiddle. Morin Khur is a Mongolian national musical instrument. Up to 1990s the instrument was mainly used to perform national melodies which imitate animals' and nature's appearance and behavior, especially the horse. Nowadays, it is also used to perform world classical melodies. Many of the Mongolian and foreign spectators are impressed and delighted about the instrument's potential. Morin Khur which represents the greatest symbol of national musical instruments was created by the nomadic Mongolians, and it is registered into the world cultural heritage. A new player of Morin Khur, first of all, learns to imitate the amble gait of a horse. This shows that the horse-head fiddle is inseparable from the Mongolians and their horses. The horse has been the pride of Mongolian cavalrymen, and the mainstay of their unity.

Long song is a unique traditional singing style known as Urtiin duu. Its miracle is unrepeatable elsewhere. A herder taking herds to pasture sings a song which involves extraordinarily complicated, drawn-out vocal sounds. It is evocative of the boundless steppe. While the people from other countries live in relevancy of each other, the Mongolians are comparatively independent people. This specific of life is formed into majestic profound songs, demanding great skill and the breathing abilities. Long songs are produced in the depth of people's real life, that is why there is no author and composer. They represent one of the oldest genres of Mongolian musical art, dating to the 13th century.

Mongolian Naadam Festival. The Naadam Festival is celebrated at every soum, aimag and city at the same time. It is the traditional nomadic culture, having a history of almost 2000 years since the Hunnu period. Naadam designed to test men's strength in the early years has become a national show Naadam nowadays. There is a big gathering of people dressed in the national clothing of various colours, and people go to watch the Naadam Festival held at the stadium of Ulaanbaatar for the whole two days.

Horseracing. In average, 400 horses of six age categories, or 2400 horses participate in a two-day horseracing in Ulaanbaatar. It is surprising that 26 000 horses, including aimags' horses participate in a race all over the country. The horses run for 20-30 kilometers putting forth all strength. Hardening a horse for a race requires experience. While a properly hardened horse can run 40, 50 kilometers, an improperly hardened horse is not able to run even 10 kilometers, being out of breath. This is the Mongolian horseracing Naadam. It can be amazing for foreigners to know that 100-200 horses participate in a race at the same time.

Wrestling. 512 wrestlers participate in the contest held on a spacious field. Mongolians revere strength since the early times, and boys begin wrestling since their chidhood. The wrestler's clothing shows the well-developed body of a Mongolian man, and it is decorated with various ornaments symbolizing strength. The contestants do not talk while wrestling, and they make movements in imitation of a bird. The contestants flap their arms in imitation of a falcon, hawk and garuda. A spectator, who comes late, can identify the number of rounds observing the wrestlers' flapping. Slapping on the thigh means “Let's test strength without harbouring thoughts of revenge, regardless of being the loser or the winner”, and the loser acknowledges defeat in wrestling, which means “I'll keep respecting you”. Watching more than 100 young powerful Mongolians wrestling in the stadium of Ulaanbaatar is another amazement.

Archery. Archery is an integral part of the highlights in the histrory of Mongolian cavalrymen. In the 13th century every family had bow and arrow in addition to horse-head fiddle. Not only men, also women used to shoot with bow and arrow. Chinggis Khaan's grandson Esungen hit the target at the distance of 330 fathoms, or approximately 520 meters which was the longest distance in the history of Mongolian cavalrymen. The world scientists have already acknowledged that the power of Chinggis Khaan's cavalrymen was in their ability of shooting with bow and arrow, in addition to their horses. They could hit the target while galloping on a horse. Shooting with bow and arrow was formed into Naadam since Bogd Khaan reign. Nowadays, the distance is 75 metres for men and 64 meters for women. Men shoot 40 arrows, women 20 arrows. The contestant is allowed to have four personal arrows. The method of making bow and arrow has retained the national tradition to date, and its making takes many days, or years. During the Naadam Festival, the President of Mongolia visits the archery field, and shoots three arrows, symbolizing the wise policy of the State.
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