Mongolian Ethnographic Ger Museum houses a 10,000 piece collection

The Mongol Messenger
2018-05-18 17:30:23
A father and son who collect ethnographic items and antiquities already have a 10,000 piece collection and run a private museum in a traditional Mongolian Ger.
O.Mash-Erdene who was serving in the Embassy of the Mongolian People’s Republic in Afghanistan in 1983-1987, started collecting antiquities relate to Mongolian ethnography since 1990 and has an extensive treasury. Hence, he decided to exhibit it to the public by founding a Mongolian Ethnographic Ger Museum in 2005. He sat with the Mongol Messenger to present his Museum exhibits to our readers.
More than 300 objects that were collected over a 30 year period are placed in the ger, and the Museum offers the opportunity for viewers to get acquainted with Nomads’ life and culture. In particular, exhibits beginning with a wooden chest, box, household utensils, iron pot, scoop/ladle made of wood, copper, brass and iron, bucket, plate, brass-made teapot, skin bag for holding fermented milk, a long sleeveless garment worn by women over the dress, deel, saddle, bridle as well as horse-head fiddle, musical instruments and religious objects are in the Ger Museum. 

Also over 200 wooden chests that were made without using nails and over 3000 sutras such as Altangerel, Jadamba and the Mahayana sutras are being kept.

O.Mash-Erdene explained some special pieces such as a child’s deel of rich family dates back to 19th century and an old skin bag for holding fermented milk.
It is eccentric that seeing a four-horned sheep head with wooden body placed near the door side. When I asked its meaning he said that it was a marked sheep of a herder from Khuvsgul Aimag who has over a thousand head of livestock.  Mongolians have a tradition to mark their favorite sheep or five kinds of livestock, honoring them as the best of the herd, not using them for food.  The herder gave this honored/sacred sheep’s head to him 7-8 years ago.

Mr. O.Mash-Erdene also found a board covered with ashes for a blackboard which was used by a high ranking lama in the 1800s and he proposed to inscribe it in UNESCO's intangible heritage list.
Then he presented an ancient shaman’s full clothing while highlighting that he collaborates with art and cultural experts and historians to get a wide range of information and advice.
Since ancient times, the husband of a Nomad family did carpentry and craft work, whereas the wife would make dairy products and dresses with wool, cashmere, and leather. Nomads’ household utensils and furnishing have features such as being portable, foldable, steady and can be used in various ways and has special designs.
O.Mash-Erdene and his son M.Zolbayar are now studying Mongolian tea culture and traditional beverage –shimiin arkhi (distilled milk vodka). Mongolian tea is special as it is made of milk with melted butter and salt added. Home distilled milk vodka or Shimiin arkhi is a traditional Mongolian beverage which is made of dairy products. They aim to show the true way to make Mongolian tea, shimiin arkhi, and related customs to foreign tourists. 

Most of their collection such as books, sutras, and household utensils are kept in containers due to a lack of space in the ger museum.  Therefore, founders of the Ger Museum plan to build a new museum building on the site of this Ger Museum which is located in the Yarmag ger area covering 0.8 hectares of land.
The Mongolian Ethnographic Ger Museum has invaluable importance to post nomadic life and culture for the younger generation and the public. 


The story was published on the Mongol Messenger's 20th issue

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