Monthly Archives: July 2015

Kievan Rus’ and Mongol Periods

[Excerpted from Russia: A Country Study, Glenn E. Curtis, ed. (Washington, DC: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1996).

Historical Setting

EACH OF THE MANY NATIONALITIES of Russia has a separate history and complex origins. The historical origins of the Russian state, however, are chiefly those of the East Slavs, the ethnic group that evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples. The major pre-Soviet states of the East Slavs were, in chronological order, medieval Kievan Rus’, Muscovy, and the Russian Empire. Three other states–Poland, Lithuania, and the Mongol Empire–also played crucial roles in the historical development of Russia.

The first East Slavic state, Kievan Rus’, emerged along the Dnepr River valley, where it controlled the trade route between Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire. Kievan Rus’ adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in the tenth century, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next thousand years. Kievan Rus’ ultimately disintegrated as a state because of the armed struggles among members of the princely family that collectively possessed it. Conquest by the Mongols in the thirteenth century was the final blow in this disintegration; subsequently, a number of states claimed to be the heirs to the civilization and dominant position of Kievan Rus’. One of those states, Muscovy, was a predominantly Russian territory located at the far northern edge of the former cultural center. Muscovy gradually came to dominate neighboring territories, forming the basis for the future Russian Empire.

Muscovy had significant impact on the civilizations that followed, and they adopted many of its characteristics, including the subordination of the individual to the state. This idea of the dominant state derived from the Slavic, Mongol, and Byzantine heritage of Muscovy, and it later emerged in the unlimited power of the tsar. Both individuals and institutions, even the Russian Orthodox Church, were subordinate to the state as it was represented in the person of the autocrat.

A second characteristic of Russian history has been continual territorial expansion. Beginning with Muscovy’s efforts to consolidate Russian territory as Tatar control waned in the fifteenth century, expansion soon went beyond ethnically Russian areas; by the eighteenth century, the principality of Muscovy had become the huge Russian Empire, stretching from Poland eastward to the Pacific Ocean. Size and military might made Russia a major power, but its acquisition of large territories inhabited by non-Russian peoples began an enduring pattern of nationality problems.

Expansion westward sharpened Russia’s awareness of its backwardness and shattered the isolation in which the initial stages of expansion had taken place. Muscovy was able to develop at its own pace, but the Russian Empire was forced to adopt Western technology to compete militarily in Europe. Under this exigency, Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725) and subsequent rulers attempted to modernize the country. Most such efforts struggled with indifferent success to raise Russia to European levels of technology and productivity. The technology that Russia adopted brought with it Western cultural and intellectual currents that changed the direction in which Russian culture developed. As Western influence continued, native and foreign cultural values began a competition that survives in vigorous form in the 1990s. The nature of Russia’s relationship with the West became an enduring obsession of Russian intellectuals.

Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War (1853-56) triggered another attempt at modernization, including the emancipation of the peasants who had been bound to the land in the system of serfdom. Despite major reforms enacted in the 1860s, however, agriculture remained inefficient, industrialization proceeded slowly, and new social problems emerged. In addition to masses of peasants seeking land to till, a new class of industrial workers–the proletariat–and a small but influential group of middle-class professionals were dissatisfied with their positions. The non-Russian populations resented periodic official Russification campaigns and struggled for autonomy. Successive regimes of the nineteenth century responded to such pressures with a combination of halfhearted reform and repression, but no tsar was willing to cede autocratic rule or share power. Gradually, the monarch and the state system that surrounded him became isolated from the rest of society. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, some intellectuals became more radical, and groups of professional revolutionaries emerged.

In spite of its internal problems, Russia continued to play a major role in international politics. However, unexpected defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 sparked a revolution in 1905. At that stage, professionals, workers, peasants, minority ethnic groups, and soldiers demanded fundamental reforms. Reluctantly, Nicholas II responded to the first of Russia’s revolutions by granting a limited constitution, but he increasingly circumvented its democratic clauses, and autocracy again took command in the last decade of the tsarist state. World War I found Russia unready for combat but full of patriotic zeal. However, as the government proved incompetent and conditions worsened, war weariness and revolutionary pressures increased, and the defenders of the autocracy grew fewer.

Early History

Many ethnically diverse peoples migrated onto the East European Plain, but the East Slavs remained and gradually became dominant. Kievan Rus’, the first East Slavic state, emerged in the ninth century A.D. and developed a complex and frequently unstable political system that flourished until the thirteenth century, when it declined abruptly. Among the lasting achievements of Kievan Rus’ are the introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion and a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures. The disintegration of Kievan Rus’ played a crucial role in the evolution of the East Slavs into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples.

The Inhabitants of the East European Plain

Long before the organization of Kievan Rus’, Iranian and other peoples lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians, who occupied the region from about 600 B.C. to 200 B.C. and whose skill in warfare and horsemanship is legendary. Between A.D. 100 and A.D. 900, Goths and nomadic Huns, Avars, and Magyars passed through the region in their migrations. Although some of them subjugated the Slavs in the region, those tribes left little of lasting importance. More significant in this period was the expansion of the Slavs, who were agriculturists and beekeepers as well as hunters, fishers, herders, and trappers. By A.D. 600, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.

Little is known of the origin of the Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. In the eighth and ninth centuries, many East Slavic tribes paid tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism about A.D. 740 and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions.

The East Slavs and the Varangians

By the ninth century, Scandinavian warriors and merchants, called Varangians, had penetrated the East Slavic regions. According to the Primary Chronicle , the earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus’, a Varangian named Rurik first established himself in Novgorod, just south of modern-day St. Petersburg, in about 860 before moving south and extending his authority to Kiev. The chronicle cites Rurik as the progenitor of a dynasty that ruled in Eastern Europe until 1598. Another Varangian, Oleg, moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and founded Kievan Rus’ about A.D. 880. During the next thirty-five years, Oleg subdued the various East Slavic tribes. In A.D. 907, he led a campaign against Constantinople, and in 911 he signed a commercial treaty with the Byzantine Empire as an equal partner. The new Kievan state prospered because it controlled the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and because it had an abundant supply of furs, wax, honey, and slaves for export. Historians have debated the role of the Varangians in the establishment of Kievan Rus’. Most Russian historians–especially in the Soviet era–have stressed the Slavic influence in the development of the state. Although Slavic tribes had formed their own regional jurisdictions by 860, the Varangians accelerated the crystallization of Kievan Rus’.

The Golden Age of Kiev

The region of Kiev dominated the state of Kievan Rus’ for the next two centuries. The grand prince of Kiev controlled the lands around the city, and his theoretically subordinate relatives ruled in other cities and paid him tribute. The zenith of the state’s power came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (r. 978-1015) and Prince Yaroslav (the Wise; r. 1019-54). Both rulers continued the steady expansion of Kievan Rus’ that had begun under Oleg. To enhance their power, Vladimir married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, and Yaroslav arranged marriages for his sister and three daughters to the kings of Poland, France, Hungary, and Norway. Vladimir’s greatest achievement was the Christianization of Kievan Rus’, a process that began in 988. He built the first great edifice of Kievan Rus’, the Desyatinnaya Church in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus’ka pravda (Justice of Rus’); built cathedrals named for St. Sophia in Kiev and Novgorod; patronized local clergy and monasticism; and is said to have founded a school system. Yaroslav’s sons developed Kiev’s great Peshcherskiy monastyr’ (Monastery of the Caves), which functioned in Kievan Rus’ as an ecclesiastical academy.

Vladimir’s choice of Eastern Orthodoxy reflected his close personal ties with Constantinople, which dominated the Black Sea and hence trade on Kiev’s most vital commercial route, the Dnepr River. Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church had long-range political, cultural, and religious consequences. The church had a liturgy written in Cyrillic and a corpus of translations from the Greek that had been produced for the South Slavs. The existence of this literature facilitated the East Slavs’ conversion to Christianity and introduced them to rudimentary Greek philosophy, science, and historiography without the necessity of learning Greek. In contrast, educated people in medieval Western and Central Europe learned Latin. Because the East Slavs learned neither Greek nor Latin, they were isolated from Byzantine culture as well as from the European cultures of their neighbors to the west.

In the centuries that followed the state’s foundation, Rurik’s purported descendants shared power over Kievan Rus’. Princely succession moved from elder to younger brother and from uncle to nephew, as well as from father to son. Junior members of the dynasty usually began their official careers as rulers of a minor district, progressed to more lucrative principalities, and then competed for the coveted throne of Kiev.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the princes and their retinues, which were a mixture of Varangian and Slavic elites and small Finno-Ugric and Turkic elements, dominated the society of Kievan Rus’. Leading soldiers and officials received income and land from the princes in return for their political and military services. Kievan society lacked the class institutions and autonomous towns that were typical of West European feudalism. Nevertheless, urban merchants, artisans, and laborers sometimes exercised political influence through a city assembly, the veche, which included all the adult males in the population. In some cases, the veche either made agreements with their rulers or expelled them and invited others to take their place. At the bottom of society was a small stratum of slaves. More important was a class of tribute-paying peasants, who owed labor duty to the princes; the widespread personal serfdom characteristic of Western Europe did not exist in Kievan Rus’, however.

The Rise of Regional Centers

Kievan Rus’ was not able to maintain its position as a powerful and prosperous state, in part because of the amalgamation of disparate lands under the control of a ruling clan. As the members of that clan became more numerous, they identified themselves with regional interests rather than with the larger patrimony. Thus, the princes fought among themselves, frequently forming alliances with outside groups such as the Polovtsians, Poles, and Hungarians. The Crusades brought a shift in European trade routes that accelerated the decline of Kievan Rus’. In 1204 the forces of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, making the Dnepr trade route marginal. As it declined, Kievan Rus’ splintered into many principalities and several large regional centers. The inhabitants of those regional centers then evolved into three nationalities: Ukrainians in the southeast and southwest, Belorussians in the northwest, and Russians in the north and northeast.

In the north, the Republic of Novgorod prospered as part of Kievan Rus’ because it controlled trade routes from the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. As Kievan Rus’ declined, Novgorod became more independent. A local oligarchy ruled Novgorod; major government decisions were made by a town assembly, which also elected a prince as the city’s military leader. In the twelfth century, Novgorod acquired its own archbishop, a sign of increased importance and political independence. In its political structure and mercantile activities, Novgorod resembled the north European towns of the Hanseatic League, the prosperous alliance that dominated the commercial activity of the Baltic region between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, more than the other principalities of Kievan Rus’.

In the northeast, East Slavs colonized the territory that eventually became Muscovy by intermingling with the Finno-Ugric tribes already occupying the area. The city of Rostov was the oldest center of the northeast, but it was supplanted first by Suzdal’ and then by the city of Vladimir. By the twelfth century, the combined principality of Vladimir-Suzdal’ had become a major power in Kievan Rus’.

In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal’ dealt a severe blow to the waning power of Kievan Rus’ when his armies sacked the city of Kiev. Prince Andrey then installed his younger brother to rule in Kiev and continued to rule his realm from Suzdal’. Thus, political power shifted to the northeast, away from Kiev, in the second half of the twelfth century. In 1299, in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church moved to the city of Vladimir, and Vladimir-Suzdal’ replaced Kievan Rus’ as the religious center.

To the southwest, the principality of Galicia-Volhynia had highly developed trade relations with its Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian neighbors and emerged as another successor to Kievan Rus’. In the early thirteenth century, Prince Roman Mstislavich united the two previously separate principalities, conquered Kiev, and assumed the title of grand duke of Kievan Rus’. His son, Prince Daniil (Danylo; r. 1238-64) was the first ruler of Kievan Rus’ to accept a crown from the Roman papacy, apparently doing so without breaking with Orthodoxy. Early in the fourteenth century, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople granted the rulers of Galicia-Volhynia a metropolitan to compensate for the move of the Kievan metropolitan to Vladimir.

However, a long and unsuccessful struggle against the Mongols combined with internal opposition to the prince and foreign intervention to weaken Galicia-Volhynia. With the end of the Mstislavich Dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century, Galicia-Volhynia ceased to exist; Lithuania took Volhynia, and Poland annexed Galicia.

The Mongol Invasion

As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus’ faced its greatest threat from invading Mongols. In 1223 an army from Kievan Rus’, together with a force of Turkic Polovtsians, faced a Mongol raiding party at the Kalka River. The Kievan alliance was defeated soundly. Then, in 1237-38, a much larger Mongol force overran much of Kievan Rus’. In 1240 the Mongols sacked the city of Kiev and then moved west into Poland and Hungary. Of the principalities of Kievan Rus’, only the Republic of Novgorod escaped occupation, but it paid tribute to the Mongols. One branch of the Mongol force withdrew to Saray on the lower Volga River, establishing the Golden Horde. From Saray the Golden Horde Mongols ruled Kievan Rus’ indirectly through their princes and tax collectors.

The impact of the Mongol invasion on the territories of Kievan Rus’ was uneven. Centers such as Kiev never recovered from the devastation of the initial attack. The Republic of Novgorod continued to prosper, however, and a new entity, the city of Moscow, began to flourish under the Mongols. Although a Russian army defeated the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380, Mongol domination of the Russian-inhabited territories, along with demands of tribute from Russian princes, continued until about 1480.

Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Russian society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of Kievan Rus’, the breakup of the “Russian” nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of “oriental despotism” into Russia. But most historians agree that Kievan Rus’ was not a homogeneous political, cultural, or ethnic entity and that the Mongols merely accelerated a fragmentation that had begun before the invasion. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

Kievan Rus’ also left a powerful legacy. The leader of the Rurik Dynasty united a large territory inhabited by East Slavs into an important, albeit unstable, state. After Vladimir accepted Eastern Orthodoxy, Kievan Rus’ came together under a church structure and developed a Byzantine-Slavic synthesis in culture, statecraft, and the arts. On the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus’, those traditions were adapted to form the Russian autocratic state.


A Study on the Document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement Led by Shin-e Lama

A Study on the Document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement Led by Shin-e Lama  — A Document Written Nearly Sixty Years ago and Never Interpreted

 By Tegusbayar, Inner Mongolia University


A traditional resisting organization is named Duguilang by Mongols, means Circle, and a related document is called the Duguilang-un Bichigesu, means the Circle Signature List of the organization.

A document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement, which led by Shin-e Lama (his given name as Oljeijirgal, 1866-1929), during 20s of 20th century, was published by Yu Yuan’an (1915-1961) in his book of A Brief History of Inner Mongolia ( Shanghai People’s Publishing House), in 1958, as an illustration, he named it as Signature List of the Duguilang Movement. For some reason, this document of Circle Signature List has not been interpreted.

In this paper, according to the document of Circle Signature List which is collected in the Archives of Inner Mongolia (reference manuscript of Yu Yuan’an) and a copy in the Museum of Inner Mongolia, an interpretation is given on the whole content, cleared its purpose and corrected some misunderstandings.

The inner circle described about the meeting reasons of the Anda members of the Duguilang, and recorded the punitive provisions approved by all member of the Duguilang. This part is the longest chapter.

The outer circle is an affidavit, on which written some words as to Swear on for Never Regret.

The middle circle is the signature list of the attendants of the Duguilang, there were 139 attendants in this meeting. This is the origin of the name known as the Signature List.

In this article’s interpretation, author thinks that the document is not only a signature list, but also a notice about the meeting reason, intended purpose, punitive disciplines for those who have violating behaviors, and many other related contents and solemn vows. The document also recorded the spirit of brave and responsible collective action in which everybody participated voluntarily, and Mongol style democracy.

The Circle Signature List was written about between the autumn and winter of the 1926.

Appendix: Chinese translation for the inner and outer circle words by Tegusbayar.

(Translated from Chinese into English by Delger)

source: the website

Project on “Values of the Mongolian nomads on the mentality culture of the World” (2008-2010)

The Mongols’ early ancestors not only contributed to the emergence of the Mongoloid race, but also performed a central role in the establishment of a diversity of nomadic cultures in Central Asia. The project aims to clear and clarify the role of the Mongolian nomads to the Western and Oriental civilizations based on the real facts of archaeology, ethnography, history and culture. Totally 12 scholars and researchers have participated to this project.

Four basic directions of the result of this survey were obtained, such as:

1.   Collective book on “Contribution of the Mongolian nomads to the Western and Oriental Civilizations”: In 3 volume book the authors have clarified relationship of the Mongolians with other civilizations on all aspects as well as political and diplomatic, economical and cultural, technological and religious, art and knowledge. The nomadic Mongols and their direct ancestors performed a major role in world civilization on two occasions, during the periods of the Xiongnu (Hun) Empire and the Mongol Empire. These nomadic peoples protected and developed international trade routes, represented by the “Silk Route”, as well as causing the construction of the Great Wall of China. During their wars of conquest, the Xiongnu travelled from the western parts of China through the mountainous region of Central Asia as far as the centres of Mesopotamian civilization. The famous “Silk Route”, which connected Western Europe, the Roman Empire and Islamic states, led to the emergence of new cities and towns along its path in Asia, Africa and Arabia, and contributed to the cultural development of Buddhist, Islamic, Daoist and Christian nations. The Mongol Empire established by Chinggis Khan fully met the criteria of a modern civilization: it guaranteed basic rights and freedoms, including the rights to live and to own property, and the freedom to travel, which extended to foreign visitors, as well as the freedom of religion; it had an effective administrative mechanism designed to protect and organize the affairs of the state; it had a fair legal system that applied to its own citizens and foreigners in its territory, supported by courts and legal regulations, which included acts recognizing international law and procedures governing war; and it maintained permanent and friendly diplomatic relations with other states.

2.  The documentary movie on “Mongolia in the networking of the world civilizations” (37 min. in English): This documentary movie consists from two parts such as 1. Role of the Mongolian nomads to the world civilizations, 2. Cultural Diversity of Mongolian nomads

3.  The recommendation on celebration and awareness of the 2220 years of the establishment of the Xiongnu-the first statehood of nomads: Considered to be the early ancestors of the Mongols, the Xunnu (also spelled Hsiong-nu or Xiongnu) left an important mark on the history of Central Asia, as the first of the Central Asian nomadic tribes to establish their own state. As result of this recommendation the Government of Mongolia made Resolution No. 314, on December 1st, 2010 on the Celebration of the 2220 years of the establishment of the Xiongnu Empire.

4.  The monograph on History and Culture of the Xiongnu (26 pp.): The author of this book is Doctor Ya.Ganbaatar.  The author concluded that one of the main contributionsmade by the Xunnu to cultural development was the creation of a system of writing, devised by adapting the Aramaic alphabet to the phonetics of their own language, supplemented by ancient tribal tamga symbols. Important numbers of Xunnu sites and artefacts have been discovered throughout Mongolia, the centre of the Xunnu state, but also in areas occupied by sedentary peoples of China, Korea, Greece and the Middle East, demonstrating that the Xunnu maintained wide-ranging relations with their sedentary neighbours.


International project on “Study of Traditional Heritage and Singing Proficiency of Long Song” (2008-2014)

The expedition to study the heritage and tradition of Mongolian folk long song involved over 40 researchers from Mongolia, Russia and PR of China. The team implemented research expeditions in 8 different regions and rural areas over a distance of 40 000 km of travel among the Mongol etlmic groups living in the territories of Mongolia, Russia and China; interviewed about 300 long song singers aged between 12 to 90, documented video recordings of over 170 hours and recorded over 500 long songs and version melodies in duplicated number.

The research documentation became the base of the united database of the registration and information of long song singers and audio and video recordings of long song of Mongol nations.

A. Joint expedition of Mongolia and China in the Gobi region of Mongolia

The expedition team conducted a research study in the areas of 23 soums of four provinces, including Altanbulag, Undur-Shireet and Bayan-Unjuul soums of Tuv province, Adaatsag, Deren and Tsagaan-Delger soums of Dundgobi province, Gobi-Sumber, Altan-Shiree of Dornogobi province and Darkhan soum of Khentii province, between August 1-21,2008 and conducted a targeted research on techniques to sing Bayanbaraat and Borjigon style melodies among the singing school and techniques of Mongolian folk long song.

As a result of the research, 15 long song singers who obtained the school and techniques to sing the Bayanbaraat and Borjigon long song were interviewed and documented video recordings of 20 hours in 20 DV tapes. 65 songs sung in Bayanbaraat style and 70 songs of Borjigon style, in total 135 long songs were documented in the database.

The  grand long songs  of  ‘Khuur magnai’, ‘Tumen ekh’, ‘Erkhem tur’, ‘Zamba tiv’, ‘Amban tsetsen khaany khulug’, ‘Tegsh tavan khusel’, ‘Ochir dari’, ‘Jargaltain delger’ and ‘Erdeniin galbirvaasan mod’ are sung in Bayanbaraat style. It shows the state of transmitting the tradition of Bayanbaraat style long song and the bearers are aged between 70 and 90. There’s no activity conducted to transmit this style to younger generations, which threatens the tradition of the Bayanbaraat long song.

The grand long songs of ‘Ar khuvchiin unaga’, ‘Altan bogdyn shil’, ‘Dumun’, ‘Uyakhan zambutiviin naran’, ‘Enkh mendiin bayar’, ‘Urikhan khongor salkhi* and ‘Jargaltain delger’ are sung in Borjigon style. The local traditional training of long song is continuing, which is proved by the home training of long song and master and disciple connection in this Borjigon area.

B. Joint expedition of Mongolia and China in the Khangai region of Mongolia

The expedition team conducted a research study in the soums of Khujirt, Bat-Ulzii, Uyanga, Arvaikheer and Nariinteel of Uvurkhangai province, Ulziit, Galuut and Bayankhongor soums of Bayankhongor province and Chuluut, Undur-Ulaan, Taikhar, Tsetserleg, Battsengel, Ugiinuur, Gurvanbulag and Dashinchilen soums of Arkhangai province during August 1-21, 2008. During the research, over 40 long song singers were interviewed and documented video recordings of 30 hours.

The number of young long song singers who sing in authentic Central Khalkha style is few and the bearers are aged between 60 and 75. Only 10% of total singers involved in the research are young singers.

In this area, the shorter-scale long songs are dominant, including “Arkhan khuvch”, “Altan bogdyn shil”, “Ar khangai nutag”, “Baruukhan undur”, “Baatar beeliin unaga”, “Jargaltain delger”, “Tengeriin agaar”, “Dumun”, “Khuren tolgoin suuder”, “Khuglug khangai”, “Nariin saikhan kheer”, “Joroo baakhan ulaan”, “Ikh bogd”, “Oroo saikhan khuren”, “Mandal Juujaa”, “Gandan uulyn tsetseg”, “Undur saikhan bor” and “Tsombon tuuraitai tal” as well as grand long songs of Bayanbaraat, Borjigon, Khar-Del and Khurkh-Binder such as ‘Tumen ekh’ /in Bayanbaraat style/, ‘Ochir dari’ /in Bayanbaraat style/, ‘Uyakhan zambutiv’ /in Bayanbaraat and Borjigon mixed style/, ‘Enkh mendiin bayar’ /in Borjigon style/, ‘Seraun saikhan khangai’ /in Borjigon style/, ‘Lam gurvan erdene’ /in Bayanbaraat style/, ‘Ertnii saikhan’ /khar-del/ and ‘Khoyor bor’ /khurkh-binder/ are sung.

C.   Joint expedition of Mongolia and China in the western leagues of the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, China

The expedition team conducted a research study in the 7 counties of 2 leagues in the western part of the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia in mid September, 2009, interviewed over 50 long song singers and bearers of long song heritage and documented video recordings of … hours.

In the regions of Ordos and Alxa in western part of Inner Mongolia, the traditions of Khalkha and Oirat long songs are kept and transmitted. However, there is a high threat and risk for the long song succession to be lost in this region. For instance, due to the social change, the nomadic thinking and sense of space is changed and the diapason and scale of long song melody is to be restricted. In the other hand, it was certain that the native environment of long song to exist and be transmitted is getting limited.

D.  Joint expedition of Mongolia and China in the eastern leagues of the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, China

The expedition team interviewed over 70 long song singers and bearers of long song heritage and documented over 100 long song melodies /in duplicated number/ in video recordings of 15 hours.

In the leagues of Hulunbuir, Xilin gol and Jirim of Inner Mongolia, the counties of Chahar, Sonid Left Banner, Abag, East Ujimqin, Jarad, Horqin, Old Barag, New Barag and New Buryat, the styles of long songs are commonly spread. In these areas, the long songs are still simg, but the long song succession is at the brick of extinction.

E. Joint expedition of Mongolia and Russia in Buryatia, Russia

The expedition team conducted a research study of Buryat long song and its tradition in the Tunkin /Tunkinsky District/ on the east side of Sayan mountain range, Agin-Buryat /Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug/, east Buryat or Aga Buryatia and Tsogto-Hangil in June, 2009.

During the research, 17 long song singers of the two regions were interviewed and made a documentation of video recordings of 10 hours to include in the database.

In the area of Agin region of Buryatia, there are larger-scale short songs, including ‘Altargana’, ‘Unchin tsagaan botgo’ and ‘Elee burged’. Buryatia is rich in short song styles such as ‘Nergelgiin duun’, ‘Shalig duun’, ‘Aajim /aidon/ duun’, Shashny duun /religious/, Teegiin duun, Hair setgeliin /romantic/ duun, Moriny duun and Chargyn duun and others. It is of interest that songs of the shorter-scale long song style in Tunkin in the region of Eastern Sayan of mountainous area were found. The general style or feature of this melody was similar to those in the areas of the mountain ranges of Mongol Altai, Khan Khukhii and Khuvsgul. However, the long song succession is getting lost and there is a lack of activities to transmit this style of long song, hence we conclude it is one of the priorities to preserve and transmit the long song of Mongol nations.

F.  Joint expedition of Mongolia and Russia among the Buryats in Mongolia

The expedition team conducted a research study among the Burayts in Batshireet, Binder and Dadal soums of Khentii province, during August 19-29,2009 for a period of ten days, interviewed about 20 Buryat long song singers and documented video recordings of 10 hours.

As a result of the research, it was concluded that the Buryats in Khentii sing the songs of ‘Khingan goloi boljuukhai’, ‘Sedhilei duun’, ‘Naranai garahaa zughuu’, ‘Zayan naya’, ‘Erebeger sookhorkhon’, ‘Ylgyn duun’, ‘Yokhroi duun’ and ‘Altargana’ and keep then-long song succession.

G.  Expedition to study the Khotogoid long song heritage and tradition

The expedition team conducted a research study on the current situation of Khotogoid long song and larger scale songs and its traditions in the soums of Telmen, Bayan-Khairkhan and Tes in Zavkhan province and Tsetserleg, Tsagaan-Uul, Burentogtokh, Arbulag, Alag-Erdene, Tumurbulag, Tunel, Tosontsengel and Ikh-Uul soums of Khuvsgul province, the Burayts in Batshireet, Binder and Dadal soums of Khentii province, during August 18-28, 2009 for a period of two weeks.

As a result of the research, the team interviewed 25 singers, documented video recordings of 10 hours and recorded over 80 long songs /in duplicated number/. Although transmitting the Khotogoid long song is quite adequate, it was observed that the tradition of grand long song is threatened.

In this area, the shorter-scale long longs with emotive melody are sung, including “Minii borlog mori’, ‘Zurag saaral’, ‘Tosongiin oroi’, ‘Deltei tsenkher’, ‘Budarmaar budarmaar salkhi’, ‘Namgar namgar salkhi’, ‘Uvriin setgel’, ‘Nuur nogoon Telmen’, ‘Musun Uul’, ‘Aliman shuguin burgas’, ‘Tsengiin shuvuu’, ‘Galuut golyn nogoo’, ‘Nuur ikh jugnai’, ‘Joroo bor’, ‘Khashlaga zandan khar’, ‘Oroo saikhan kheer’, ‘Agaryn gurvan suljee’, ‘Toost Bulnai’, ‘Jiijuu duruu’, ‘Arjgar kheer’, ‘Khongor tolgoin buutsand’, ‘Khoid khangain orgil’, ‘Shinaa nuuryn khukhuu’, ‘Seruun gyalaad’, ‘Dunkher khalzan khainag’ and ‘Duuren bulag’ as well as the long songs of Central Khalkha and Western Khalkha regions, Bayanbaraat and Borjigon style melodies, including ‘Alia saaral’, ‘Tsombon tuuraitai khuren’, ‘Kheerkhen khaltar’, ‘Ochir dar lam’, Avralyn deed’, ‘Nariin khukh mori’, ‘Undur saikhan bor’, ‘Altan bogdyn shil’ and ‘Tegsh tavan kliusel’ are sung in the version of local melody.

H. Expedition to study the Western Khalkha long song heritage and tradition

The expedition team conducted a research study in the soums of Khaliun, Tugrug, Sharga, Tonkhil and Darvi of Gobi-Altai province and Tsetseg, Darvi and Chandmani soums of Khovd province, during August 14 – 28, 2009. During the research, about 20 long song singers aged between 40 and 90 were interviewed and documented video recordings of 20 hours. As a result of the research, over 100 long songs /in duplicated number/ were documented in the database.

The grand long songs of ‘Khuur magnai’, ‘Tumen ekh’, ‘Erkhem tur’, ‘Zamba tiv’, ‘Amban tsetsen khaany khulug’, ‘Tegsh tavan khusel’, ‘Ochir dari’, ‘Jargaltain delger’ and ‘Erdeniin galbirvaasan mod’ are sung in Bayanbaraat style. It shows the state of transmitting the tradition of Bayanbaraat style long song and the bearers are aged between 70 and 90. There’s no activity conducted to transmit this style to younger generations, which threatens the tradition of the Bayanbaraat long song.

As a result of the research on the heritage of Western Khalkha long song which confronts the region of Oirat long song, the following conclusions are made:

Firstly:The comparative study of Western Khalkha long song and Oirat and Central khalkha long song is made possible. Furthermore, the database, research materials and documentations are collected, compiled and maintained which enables the comparative study of the long songs styles of Bayanbaraat, Borjigon, Khotogoid, Buryat, Inner Mongolian western and eastern region long songs to determine the differences and similarities in the form, melody composition, inner quality and characteristics, singing techniques and methodology.

Secondly:The long songs of ‘Erkhem tur’ and ‘Durtmal saikhan’, renowned to be of ‘Zasagt khan county’ /former administrative unit before People’s revolution in 1921/ were recorded as the traces and evidences of Central Khalkha grand long songs being sung in Western Khalkha. However, there are no young successors to continue this tradition and the tradition of grand long song is in danger to be lost.

Thirdly:In the western border of Western Khalkha long song region, including Tsetseg, Darvi and Chandmani soums of Khovd province and Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Gobi-Altai province, the Khalkha long songs were influenced by Oirat songs. Although the local singers explained that ‘the lyrics of our western Khalkha long song have similar features and words with Oirat songs, the melody is totally different’. It can be concluded that the melody of Oirat short songs influenced the western Khalkha long song, further the melody and singing technique of Western Khalkha long song have the influences of sharp and sudden movement and unique technique to singing in horizontal lines of the pitch diapason of Oirat songs. Further, the long song in the western part of Western Khalkha region has a tendency to gain ‘abridged’ form of both melody and the vocal energy flow of the singer. Such tendencies are observed from the songs of ‘Khoyor Altai nutag’, ‘Khan UuP, ‘Jargaltain delger’, ‘Ar khuvch’ and ‘Bogdyn Undur’ sung in Tsetseg, Darvi and Chandmani soums of Khovd province and songs of ‘Shar talyn tsetseg’, ‘Menget kheer’, ‘Zeergenetiin shil’, ‘Ar khuvch’ and ‘Khan uul’ in Tonkhil and Darvi soums of Gobi-Altai province. Then many songs including ‘Jargaltain delger’, ‘Khuren tolgoin suuder’, ‘Erkhem tur’, ‘Durtmal saikhan’, ‘Urgun uul’, ‘Khan Uul’ and ‘Urikhan khongor salkhi’ are sung according to the technique of expanding the horizontal line of pitches, the main principle of singing techniques of Central Khalkha long songs is observed. Therefore, we conclude, approximately 30-40 per cent of Western Khalkha long songs were influenced by Oirat shorter-scale long song.

In 2011 we have investigated singing techniques and repertoires of 17 singers, the bearers of the special genre of the Mongolian Folk long Song named as Western Mongolian Long Song in the Uvs aimag of Mongolia. These bearers are aged 55-80 and mainly belong to the Bayad and Dorbed ethnic groups. The old sutras inform us that more than 200 folk long songs sung by Bayad and Durbed people. But in 2011 we have registered just 50 long songs.

In 2013 researcher MA M.Dorjdagva implemented a fieldwork in the Eastern region of Mongolia among Dariganga and Uzemchin ethnic groups. He interviewed about 16 folk long song singers aged 60-84 and collected legends and customs which connected with these songs. Singing techniques and repertoires of them have most similar character with the Uzemchin khoshuu (league)’s singers from Inner Mongolia. Also some singing techniques remind Dariganga’s long folk songs. At present, folk long song singers of the Uzemchin banners are mostly singing 10 long folk songs as well as Dariganga people sing more than 5 long folk songs. In Matad soum of the Dornod aimag a tradition of the Khatigan tribe’s long folk song -is broken and local administration took some measures to save this heritage.

Basically the sphere of the long folk songs of the Eastern region is beaming narrow. In this region herders ceased to produce mare’s milk. Fermented mare milk (airag) is the main drink in the festivals of the Mongols. Without airag the Mongolian festivals do not last long. The Mongols prefer drink airag and to sing long folk song. Therefore in the eastern region herders prefer to sing short and modern songs.

In 2014 We continued our researches on long folk song heritages among Tuva people who live in the Sayan Mountain region of the Tuva Republic of Russia. We interviewed 2 people. Also we clarified that in 1970 in this mountain region the people sung same long folk songs with Khalkha people from Mongolia. But recently next generation from that people don’t know about these songs. Although they still develop short folk songs heritages. These short songs have a similar singing techniques and melodies with Durbed and Bayad peoples from Mongolia and Tunkhen Buriad people from Russia. Therefore, these geographical and singing method similarities we view that these songs are included in the sub-group of the “Oirad-Mongolian folk songs”.

In our mind basic functions of the long folk songs in the Mountain, Gobi and Steppe regions of Mongolia are:

  1. These long folk songs preserve cultural manner and artistic thinking of the ethnic groups of Mongolia still now.
  2. These long folk songs tradition advantageously influence to the natural and cultural ecologies. In other words these heritages complexly take nature-oriented taboos, customs and beliefs. These long folk songs consists of the peace-offering songs for the mountainous, river and forest spirits, praising songs for these spirits as well as songs asking for the rain, and asking to stop natural diseases (sand-spout, dryness and snow) etc.,

In 2015 we are planning to investigate long folk songs and their customs among the Sartuul and Eljigin ethnic groups of Mongolia.

The result and outcomes of the project:

As the result of having the Mongolian long song listed and declared as the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity jointly by Mongolia and China, international researchers cooperated in the expedition of surveillance study and collected research database among the Mongolians living in Mongolia, Russia and China. The outcomes of the project are:

  1. As we consider, the boundaries of the distribution of the school of singing of Khalkha style long song with different energetic movements of larynx and pharynx producing fine, soft and extended melodies can be defined as follows: the Xilin gol, Ordos and Alxa leagues of Inner Mongolia as the southern boundary; Hulunbuir league of Inner Mongolia as the eastern boundary; the areas of Khalkha people in Gobi-Altai, Zavkhan and Khovd aimags of Mongolia as the western boundary; the area of Khotogoid long song heritage as the northwestern boundary; and the ‘ai don duun’ /Slow song/ in the Tunkin district in western Buryatia as the northern boundary.
  2. Within the framework of the research, over 300 long song singers were interviewed and documented in video recording, which became the foundation of the registration and information database of long song singers of Mongol nations in three countries.
  3. By documenting the melodies, local style or variant melodies of over 500 long songs sung in local school techniques and melodies in audio and video recordings became the basis of the registration and information database of long songs of Mongol nations in three countries.
  4. The comparative study of variant melodies and variant lyrics of long songs among Mongol nations, enable to further determination of the origin and center of long songs and the primeval melody of long song.

In the future, the basic study to compile the ‘Long song anthology of Mongol nations’ is to be accomplished. International researchers with the support of international research institutions will implement this basic study project.



One of the functions of the IISNC is to assist in training research workers, in particular young researchers. Therefore, our institute in cooperation Mongolian University of Education has been organized the Summer School since 2003 accordingly. During the Summer School, an international scientific conference has been held among the participants of the Summer school involving young Mongolian researchers from research institutes of Mongolia since 2004 on an annual basis. We think that this conference renders them an opportunity to seek common interests on the matters of Mongol studies and gives a potential for cooperation that would encourage them to exchange information and knowledge and to promote Mongol studies in other countries.


The Mongol Century: Visual Cultures of Yuan China, 1271-1368

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The Mongol Century explores the visual world of China’s Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the spectacular but relatively short-lived regime founded by Khubilai Khan, regarded as the pre-eminent khanate of the Mongol empire.

This book illuminates the Yuan era – full of conflicts and complex interactions between Mongol power and Chinese heritage – by delving into the visual history of its culture, considering how Mongol governance and values imposed a new order on China’s culture and how a sedentary, agrarian China posed specific challenges to the Mongols’ militarist and nomadic lifestyle.

Shane McCausland explores how an unusual range of expectations and pressures were placed on Yuan culture: the idea that visual culture could create cohesion across a diverse yet hierarchical society, while balancing Mongol desires for novelty and display with Chinese concerns about posterity.

Although in recent years exhibitions have begun to open up the inherent paradoxes of Yuan culture, this is the first book in English to adopt a comprehensive approach. It incorporates a broad range of visual media of the East Asia region to reconsider the impact Mongol culture had in China, from urban architecture and design to tomb murals and porcelain, and from calligraphy and printed paper money to stone sculpture. Fresh and invigorating, The Mongol Century explores, in fascinating detail, the visual culture of this brief but captivating era of East Asian history.


A Historian and Mongolist Nicola Di Cosmo

DiCosmo_HeadshotNicola Di Cosmo received his Ph.D. from the Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies (now Central Eurasian Studies) at Indiana University in 1991, and held research and teaching positions at the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) before joining the Institute for Advanced Study in 2003. His main field of research is the history of the relations between China and Inner Asia from prehistory to the modern period. Within that broad area he has published on the early history of China’s relations with steppe nomads (e.g., Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Powers in East Asian History, 2002) and on Mongol and Manchu history (e.g., Manchu-Mongol Relations on the Eve of the Qing Conquest, 2003), and he has edited several books, including Military Culture in Imperial China, 2009, and The Cambridge History of Inner Asia, 2009. He is currently working on questions of climate change at the time of the Mongol empire, the political thought of the early Manchus, and commercial relations in northeast Asia on the eve of the Qing conquest.

Indiana University, Ph.D. 1991; University of Cambridge, Research Fellow 1989–92; Indiana University, Visiting Lecturer and Rockefeller Fellow 1992–93; Harvard University, Assistant Professor 1993–97, Associate Professor 1998–99; University of Canterbury, Senior Lecturer 1999–2003; Institute for Advanced Study, Member 1999, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies 2003–