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Modern Mongolia

Genghis Khan

Gers: A Traditional Home

What can I learn from looking at a ger?

Mongolian GerCentral to the exhibition are three life-size gers (the Mongolian word for yurt, the nomads' traditional home), which will feature many of the 192 Mongolian costumes and artifacts on display. These authentic gers and 35 rare archival photographs enable visitors to reconstruct 20th-century nomadic life. Four films made especially for the exhibition provide historic background and help to illuminate Genghis Khan's (1162-1227) relationship to contemporary Mongolians' democratic ideals. Dr. Sabloff's 1998-1999 research on the Mongolian people is also presented.

"Modern Mongolia" illustrates the impact of the different 20th-century governments on nomads' and city dwellers' everyday life. The country has experienced three types of government over the last century including feudal, Communist, and democratic. The three gers will chart this history by creating an authentic Mongolian home for each of the political periods. The first ger takes visitors inside a wealthy home in the beginning of the 20th-century when Mongolia was under the rule of the Manchu Dynasty of China. A half-ger displays both the changes and continuity of life around the 1960s, during the height of communism. A final ger is set in 2000, a decade after the Mongolian government formally embraced democracy and free market economy.

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