FOLK ART

For centuries the Mongolians have been utilizing their livestock raw materials, such as horns, bones, wool, hides, as well as materials found in the surrounding nature. Popular works of Mongolian handicraft art include embroidery, knit work, appliqué, needlework, felt, leather, bone and wood carving, steel and iron metalwork, gold and silver smith work, copper and brass hammering and papier-mâché from various ethnic groups. Craftspeople specialising in a particular handicraft unique to their own tools, techniques and recipes generally pass down their art to the next generation, thereby helping to continue their cultural heritage.

Unique works of handicraft often become popular pieces of art, perfected through the continually evolving experiences of future generations. Such handicrafts are characterised with unique illustrations of cultural traditions, wishes, and dreams of the people they represent. Localized styles have developed along with the mastery of the craftspeople. For example, Urga is famous for its silk appliqués, Dariganga for its gold and silver works, Dalai Choinhor for its blacksmith works, the Borjigin steppes for its saddles and wooden articles for gers, Western Mongolia for its leather works, and the Kazakhs for their quilted carpets. All the aforementioned works reflect strong symbolism of the natural beauty of the Khangai and Gobi flora, with mythological creatures and livestock adorned with meandering ornaments.

Smiths were respected everywhere in Mongolia throughout the centuries, they had a special place within the community. There are legends about their origin which say they came from the sky. The cult of smithing is widespread among the Buriats, they respected whole families who were thought to be originated from the spirit of smithcraft. Travellers, scholars also (G. E. Grum-Grjimaylo, Russian scholar) noted the importance of smithing in their publications, this stands out of other folk arts. The craft was inherited from father to son. They made all sorts of objects, jewellery, tools, household utensils but religious pieces as well.

       Mongolian silversmith works are of a very high quality, they show vast knowledge of doing chiselling, enamelling, engraving, embossing and filigree work as well. Filigree is widespread in Mongolia.  It is a delicate kind of jewellerymetalwork made with twisted threads usually of gold and silver or stitching of the same curving motifs. It often suggestslace, and in recent centuries remains popular in Indian and other Asian metalwork.

       Mongolian silver objects are richly decorated, they don`t like simplicity. They normaly decorate the whole surface of the object. Even though certain parts seem less significant, they don’t leave an empty space on it.

      The use of jewelleries were widespread in whole Mongolia. In early periods masters decorated bronze and iron jewellery with gold and silver motifs, later the whole piece was made of precious metal. Head ornaments, crowns, hairpins and earrings are usualy made with filigree work, decorated with coral, turkiz and other precious stones. Mongolian women received their jewellery from their parents on the day of getting married. The jewellery and different ornaments on their clothes talked about the social and financial background of women and their families.

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