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Bone Horn and Tusk Crafts

Bone, Horn and Tusk Crafts

Bones, horns, and fangs of domestic and wild animals are boiled and used for creating various items.

Nomadic Mongolians have used the tusks and teeth of wild and domesticated animals for various craftworks. Among them, a tusk sculpture by S. Sengee is amazing. Marked as the best of this kind of art in Mongolia, this sculpture is called “Never Lowering the Flag.” It is 3 meters long and weighs more than 30 kg. Its artistic, aesthetic and symbolic meanings express the prominent successes and progress that the Mongolian people have Bone Horn and Tusk Crafts 2  

Bone CraftsBone Horn and Tusk Crafts 1

It is a very old tradition to use the bones of domesticated and wild animals is di rectly correlated to the cultural and ethical practices of the nomadic Mongolians.Bone crafts have been practiced since the time that the nomads used various parts of their animals, such as ribs, shins, radiuses, pelvises, kneecaps, ankles, nails, teeth, spines, skulls, and chins, as tools. Later, they started using tusks, canines, and horns, particularly those of strong animals, which had symbolic as well as decorative meaning. With the development of bone crafts, various types of bone games have appeared. Ankle bones, for example, are used for a variety of traditional games and toys.

Bone Horn and Tusk CraftsHorn Engraving

Horn has been used for nomadic traditional craftsmanship both as a tool and as raw material for products since ancient times. Before working with horn, artisans must store it properly and maintain the quality well by keeping it away from water, oil, humidity and dryness. Nomadic people made a variety of pots, cups, spoons, and forks as well as hobbles, halters, and other household items with horns. Also, many types of household utensils, including the ladle for scooping airag (fermented mare’s milk), a horse currycomb, and a knife sheath have been made from ox horn, bird-beak (such as swan, goose, and grouse) and decorated with diverse styles and patterns. Ox horn by itself, for example, can be made into a gun powdercase for hunters and into a type of purse and a place to store items used in rituals.

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