Crafts and shops
Why not start at the Mongolian Shop? Arts and crafts and wear, straight from Mongolia. Hint: the Paintings section is my hang-out, as usual – I strongly like what’s happening in Mongolian art these days. It’s like the old days, with Picasso thrown in. Except they always threw Picasso in.
Did we mention art? Let’s go to the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery.
Or ArtSiberia, and explore the artists there. Nudge: I suggest Dashi Namdakov. Though I have a fancy for several.
I am a profound admirer of Dashi, mentioned above. Here’s his site dashi-art. He does shamans, that are frequently… cute, and his ‘warrior series’ of slain warriors in twisty disjointed pieces on the ground like collapsed suits of armour, with great Mongol faces. Throughout the first book I had one of these set as my desktop background: he stood for the slain at Bor Nor.
Zaya has an online gallery at art-zaya where he fuses old and new art, and features noble or royal women in costume with wild animals. See these splendid Mongol queens beside their snow leopards.
Written and oral arts
Here’s The Center for Central Asian Literatures in Translation, where you can find Mongolian poetry and fiction, much on old themes – The brown steppe is like an ancient story (from ‘The Horses Neigh at Night Upon the Steppe’) – but modern life short stories, too. Jamuh’s Testimony is adapted from Jamuqa’s final exchange with Temujin in the Secret History – a sad ode to friendship. There are lovely poems, well translated. Try Queen Kherlen, a lyric that personifies the Kherlen River. There’s a great translation of Bilga Khaghan’s stone inscriptions. And a funny idiomatic Tuvan folktale, Strongman Curly-Black, Son-of-a-Bear – a hero with a human mother and a bear father, and ‘traits of both species’.
Here’s a link to The Kyrgyz epic Manas, which I’ve blogged about.
On this page of the site Monumenta Altaica you can download Francis W. Cleaves’ translation of the Secret History of the Mongols. It’s the translation I use most – cast in a King James Bible English, his arguments for which you can find in the preface.
Have an ogle at Jamuqa’s antique Hun crown. It’s as I describe. I’ll find other outfits for you, featured in the novel.