Tuesday, October 04, 2011

From Beijing to Baghdad and Beyond

The Genghis Khan Exhibition peforms conciousness-raising service. Beyond interpretive texts and videos, there are enough material artifacts to blow your mind. Things ranging from weaponry to a princess mummy, from shaman paraphernalia to the colorful interior of a ger, or yurt.

Aside from the spread of ideas and culture, a lot of specific things related to the Mongol Empire are of current relevance. One is the concept of religious tolerance and respect for diversity. Another is conservation of natural resources: freshwater sources, nature preserves and rules of use. The yurt or ger ("home" in Mongolian) is highly adaptable; in contemporary times, they are fitted for solar power and the internet.

The exhibition's dazzling array of artifacts includes passport medalions and related items. "By order of the Khan: Permit me to pass or die." That would cause one to take pause, certainly. In the West, the idea of being overrun by "Mongol hordes" still strikes primal fear in the imagination, many hundreds of years later. Bottom line: do not mess with the Great Khan, even in your mind. But there's more to it than that, a whole lot more.

Today's Rune: Movement.  I saw the exhibition on its last day at the Irving Arts Center in Irving, Texas. It will open in Raleigh, North Carolina, next month.

No comments: