Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Photoblogging: "Mongoliana"

I have been-- I hope forgivably-- absent, doing an article, a review, and a long shot (double? triple?) book proposal. As I type too slowly these days, and dictation is still slow for technicalia and odd language, I haven't had the energy for much blogging; I have done over 12,000 words in the last week or so, only 2000 or so "paid for", the rest on spec. Hopeful, anyway...

I should be back in the game in a few days. Meanwhile, I have a few images to intrigue you that do not need much commentary. The first is from a 1920's National Geographic: the Mongol princess Nirgidma,who led a long and adventurous life in places as various as Paris and the Tian Shan, with her eagle in the second. She knew everybody-- Google her.

The next two are by me. The first, both beautiful and horrifying, is the Bogd Kahn's ger, which stands in the utter darkness of a room in his palace and is not on public exhibition (I bribed a guard with a bottle of American vodka-- why people in Asia prefer Smirnoff to better I do not know-- exoticism?!)-- and polished it off with him to get this shot, and I have not seen another example. Somewhere between 200 and 400 snow leopards died to make it (it is completely lined inside as well)-- an odd kind of Buddhism...

The Bogd Khan, last "priest king" of Mongolia and, according to some, inferior only to the Dalai and Panchen lamas, survived, obese and blind and debauched, into the communist era. While he may not have been a monster himself, he was associated during the Russian civil war with Baron von Ungern Sternberg, one of the most disturbing minor figures of history-- and be glad that he is minor. As it was, he rained medieval death and horror on Urga, now better known as Ulan Bataar, and hoped to conquer the world like Jengiz, possibly with the Bogd Khan as a figurehead. Good bio here; science- fiction with him as a character here.

The Bogd Khan's restored palace is magnificent, though at least when I was there you could only see the outside. Here is a fine Imperial (five- fingered) guardian dragon at the gate:

(Photo of ger enhanced by Jackson Frishman).

1 comment:

HTTrainer said...

the note on Princess Nirgidma, very interesting person.