Visual Art of Mongolia
Cinema, the miracle of the 20th century, came to Mongolia in 1910s. First movies were shown in the capital city, at the American Consulate and Russian Stock Exchange’s hotel. In 1913 Mongolian prince Namnansuren is known to have brought some films from Russia to show at the residence of the Bogd Khan. After the revolution of 1921, equipment and movies have been purchased and students trained in Russia . Thus people have acquired access to cinema.
At that time, cinema in Mongolia was called “Shadow show”, and it was free of charge, until the first cinema theatre “Ard” was built in 1930s. In 1935, under the decision of the Council of Ministers, a movie production company “Mongol kino” was set up with Soviet assistance. The first production of the company was a documentary “74th Celebration of 1st May”. In 1936, the first feature movie created with the technical assistance of the Soviet “Lenfilm”.
Mongolia ‘s first movie directors, cameramen, editors and other personnel were trained on the job by professionals from the Soviet Union . And in 1938 Mongolians were able to make independently “Norjmaa’s way”, and “Wolves” in 1939. Movies directed by the famous Mongolian film director D.Jigjid, such as “Tsogt taij” (1945), “People’s messenger” (1959), “Flood”, “Son-in-law” and others have became classics of Mongolian cinema. Film directors of younger generation, such as H.Damdin, Ts.Navaan, Ch.Gombo, B.Baljinnyam, B.Sumhuu and O.Urtnasan have made their unique contribution to further development of Mongolian cinema.
The 1990s have became a turning point in the history of Mongolian cinema. Around 20 private film studios that have emerged between 1992 and 1997, produced more than 100 feature movies. Foreign relations with films companies have expanded as well. Joint productions of both documentary and feature films with French, Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian film producers have successfully participated in various international film festivals.
Fine arts of Mongolia are famous for its incredible paintings. Cave paintings aged 3-8 thousand years and found in the Khoid Tsenkher cave, Munkhan somon of Khovd aimag, are considered the first works of art discovered in the territory of Mongolia . The history of art and architecture of the Mongolian Empire begins in the 12th century and at later times was influenced by other nations.
The capital city of the Mongol Dynasty, Khar Khorum, was a magnificent proof of the glory and majesty of the Mongolian Empire. With the development of religious arts and architecture, in 16 to early 20th century, design of buildings acquired features of Buddhist temples. Many monasteries were built during this time. Works, that represents today’s classical painting techniques, are U.Yadamsuren’s “The Old Horse-fiddler”, A.Senghetsokhio’s “The Mongol Lady”, B.Avarzed’s “Uurgach” and Ts.Minjuur’s “Caravan Guide”.
A new social system which was founded upon the victory of Revolution in 1921 was focused on art works. Therefore art works of that time were dedicated to publicity of he new system. Since then Mongolian artists became acquainted with European paintings and began using both Mongolian and European drawing methods. In order to develop Mongolian art systematically specialised artists were prepared and there were established specialised agencies in Mongolia . In 1950s many genres of fine art, carpet and porcelain production were introduced and developed.
During this period many artists and architects became very famous for their single thematic works, namely, painter O. Tsevegjav-animals, U.Yadamsuren-workers, N.Tsultem and G.Odon-history and everyday life, L.Gavaa-nature and an architect S.Choimbol-monuments etc. In 1960s there was a great change in the tradition of art-refusing to use linear perspectives, harmonisation of colours and colour endowments in every respect and began to use other techniques of painting as well as themes and contents of art were expanded. Famous artists of 1970-1980 are D.Amgalan who mastered xylography, M.Butemj, Ya.Urjnee, G.Soosoi, M.Chuvaamid who mastered monumental arts, S.Dondog, B.Chogsom, M.Tsembeldorj and D.Munkhuu etc. On beginning democracy in Mongolia since 1990 there has been a change in the social life and in the sector of arts and culture. As Mongolia expands its foreign relations, artists and architects of Mongolia are provided with possibilities of studying and creating abstract and impressionist arts which were unfamiliar to Mongols.
Mongolian painting began to develop more than two thousand years ago from simple rock drawings. Uighur paintings of the 8th century prove that this art was flourishing in Mongolia and Asia long ago. Buddhism was the main theme of the painting. and it developed into a fine art form. B. Sharav is the painter who linked the old with the new in his art. The Mongolian way of life was depicted in his famous work “One Day in Mongolia ” and various portraits.
The traditional painting was influenced by European art. The Mongolian painters L. Gavaa, O. Tsevegjav and Ts. Dorjpalam are famous not only at home, but also abroad. They made a great contribution to the creation of new art based in tradition and trained several generations of painters. At present, new and different artistic trends are emerging, and creative young artists are developing the national art.
Deer carvings in rock constitute the historical monuments of ancient times. Thousands of these rocks are evidence of the development and wealth of sculpture in ancient Mongolia . Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, a prominent religious figure and famous sculptor of the 17th century, created 21 tare (consorts of Buddha), which show the beauty of Mongolian woman. Zanabazar laid the foundation for the depiction and praise of the human form in Mongolian sculpture.
Now there are many famous sculptors such as S. Choimbol, A. Davaatssren, N. Jambai and L. Dashdeleg. The monument to D. Sukhbaatar by S. Choimbol is a symbol of Mongolia and it gives an idea of our country to foreign visitors. It is a unique example of a Mongolian horse-rider represented through the medium of sculpture. It is hoped that creative young artists will further contribute to sculpture in Mongolia.