ICH of Mongolia: Mongolian calligraphy


2017-08-22 14:30 GMT+8

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Mongolian calligraphy is the technique of handwriting in the Classical Mongolian script, which written from the top downwards and in clockwise turns and has a classic vertical direction by continuous strokes to create words. The letters are formed from six main strokes, known as the head, tooth, stem, stomach, bow, and tail, respectively. This meticulous writing is used for official letters, invitations, diplomatic correspondence and love letters; for a form of shorthand known as synchronic writing; and for emblems, logos, coins, and stamps in ‘folded’ forms.

E.Bayartsetseg, a Mongolian contestant to Miss World 2016 showed a performance which mixed Mongolian calligraphy with dance and announced as Top 10 Talent of the pageant. 


The word “Calligraphy” was originated from the ancient GreeceConsequently, all the cultured nations of the world have their own calligraphic traditions. The Mongols (Mongolians) are one of the authors of those traditions. The arrangement of different scripts and letters worked out and used by the Mongol race has a history of almost 2000 years. It’s quite rare to find a place in the wide steppe of Central Asia without any rock-drawings and petroglyphs with different carved paintings/figures, marks, seals, stamps, letters, and scripts. 

The fact that the scripts system used by Mongols included transcriptions for transcribing foreign words like Tibetian, Sanscrit, Chinese, Manchurian, Russian, Turkish etc. is a real witness of the respect of Mongols towards culture and education. The Classic Mongolian script with an ancient tradition used since its creation until today, spread widely, firmly and regularly among the Mongol race, is one of the wonders of the spiritual culture and precious heritage of Mongolia which was created taking into consideration the sound specialties of Mongolian language.

The Chinggis Khaan’s stele (inscribed Monument) which was writing around 1224 is an ancient memento, a memory at the same time as well as a monument and a very rare subject of research and studies regarding the Mongolian Calligraphy. On the Stone Sutra Chinggis Khaan’s stele, one can observe the relations of the sky and the Earth, the row supporting the special principle of letters and words and the subject of respect and admiration. The artistry peculiarity, different writing style and forms like the print style, handwritten, folded etc. and the kind of usage of bamboo pen and stamps were studied continuously, spread and developed further. In this modern time promotion of not only the calligraphy research and study but also to development of the Mongolian Calligraphy in accordance with the oriental philosophy, agitating music, beautiful poetry, art painting etc. is extremely necessary as well as the use of this special art of different consumer goods in order to make clear the national peculiar tradition.


Traditionally, mentors select the best students and train them to be calligraphers over a period of five to eight years. Students and teachers bond for life and continue to stimulate each other’s artistic endeavours. The rate of social transformation, urbanization and globalization have led to a significant drop in the number of young calligraphers. 

Special measures are therefore needed to attract young people to the traditional art of writing and to safeguard and revitalize the tradition of Mongolian script and calligraphy.

Mongolian calligraphy was inscribed in 2013 on the UNESCO`s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. 

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