Mongolian Traditional Arts

During the long history of the Mongol Empire the Mongolian emperors displayed deep interest in the arts of the many nations that comprised the Mongol domains. Mongolian royalty were great patrons of the arts and were themselves catalysts for international artistic cross-pollination.

Although many remarkable examples of this Mongol imperial arts patronage can still be found in museums around the world it is probably just a small fraction of the Mongol Empire’s contribution to the development of the arts.

Mongolia has produced many extraordinary artists during its rich history. The greatest Mongolian artist known to us is Bogdo Gegen Zanabazar (1635-1723). Zanabazar was recognized as the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, or Bogdo Gegen by the fifth Tibetan Dalai Lama. Zanabazar’s exquisite gilt bronze sculptures combine breathtaking renderings of Buddhist deities with powerfully expressive lifelike characteristics. In 2005 a spectacular collection of Zanabazar and School of Zanabazar masterpiece sculptures was sold in New York by the Rossi & Rossi Gallery. The name of the original owner of this priceless Zanabazar collection (which could make a museum collection by itself) was not available and so it remains a mystery as to how this group of Zanabazar masterpieces found its way from Mongolia to New York City’s art marketplace.

It is crucially important for Mongolians to have knowledge of their great artistic heritage and be able to witness the remarkable heights that their own artists achieved by viewing some their creations and sharing this knowledge with Mongolians and others.

 

Begtse
Vajrapani
Yama
Mandarava
Panchen Lama
Zanabazar

 
These images are from the Rossi & Rossi 2005 Zanabazar exhibition catalogue

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