As the book is one of the most revered items among the nomadic pastoral Mongolians, there are numerous wonderful books created by the prominent artisans in our history. Mongolian book illustrations have an ancient tradition. There are diverse book inscriptions made by using various items, such as ink, natural paints, gold, silver, and gemstones. Moreover, there are many examples of book covers, pages, and titles decorated with paintings, engraved with gold, silver, and other precious metals, or covered with inscriptions made of double-embroidery stitches. There are also many carved prototypes of block-printing.
GREAT HISTORICAL TREATISE ‘THE SECRET HISTORY OF MONGOLS’
A unique version of Great Historical Treatise ‘The Secret History of Mongols’, decorated with pure gold, fine silver and precious stones is kept at the State Ceremonial Palace. On this artwork, a portrait of Chinggis Khaan is inlaid with brilliants, while the Nine-Fringed White Banner (used in peacetime) and Black Banner (used in war) are embedded with pure gold and precious stones, symbolizing the state etiquette. The texts of ‘The Secret History of Mongols’ are written with gemstones mixed ink by the ancient glyph of Khudam Mongol Script by Choiji Odser on a finely organic paper and each chapter is decorated with petrified wood from the Gobi, pure gold, fine silver, native copper, gemstone, and jade.
THE BOOK OF NINE TREASURES
A famous type of book inscription is yesön erdeniin nom or “book of nine treasures,” which includes gold, silver, lapis-lazuli, turquoise, coral, pearl, steel, copper, and mother of pearl. In nine-treasure book-making, the aforementioned elements are ground into a powder and then mixed with liquid glue to become an ink-like solution. Book sheets are prepared by the following traditional way: firstly, thin paper sheets are pasted to each other and painted with a solution of black ink, water, and glue. Second, the gutter and top edges of the layered sheets are smeared with smut. Third, the main space of the paper sheet is ground with a flat stone in order to make a smooth surface for various inscriptions and paintings. After this, the sheets are bound accordingly.Then, the previously-prepared ink-like solution is used for writing on the paper sheets with the help of a bamboo pen or brush.
Button of treasures
Consisting of a 71.1 meter-long roll of papyrus-like paper, the longest book in Mongolia. It was written in Classical Mongolian script in black Erdeniin tovch is the ink in 1662 by Sagan Setsen, a well-known scholar, and military figure. This rolled book is one way that book manuscripts can be conveniently carried in a bag on a horse or hung from the top of a wall in a ger.
EULOGY TO THE GREEN TARA
This small, handwritten book was created by the well-known Mongolian scholar and lexicographer S. Shagj in 1914. Written in Tibetan on paper, it measures 5.4 x 5 cm; its manuscript length is 5 cm and its width is 4.5 cm. It is said that the author of this book, Shagj, wrote it with a single hair in an ink-dark ger with the eye-of-a-needle-like hole and using only the rays of the sun that happened to breach his ger. It is impossible to read this minute book without the use of a magnifying glass or
INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLECTION OF SECRETS
This book is a precious example of the book-making art of Mongolia, as its all pages are created with pure silver folios. All of the folios have gold-embossed figures of Buddhist deities together with marvelous decorations made of coral and pearl. Created around the end of the nineteenth century by prominent artisans led by Dagva, of Manzushir temple, located at the base of Bogd Khaan Mountain, there is only one version of this book in the world. Each silver page of the Nuutsiin khuraangui has a length and width of 59 x 15 cm, and the inscriptions were embossed on the pages as well as gilded with gold. The work used 1,460 lan (or 52,560 kg) of pure gold and silver; each page of the book can weigh from 1.2-3.74 kg. Including twelve chapters of the highest teachings of Ag mantra, this book has 111 pages with 220 sides.
Created entirely out of embroidery by the skilled artisan Doljin from Ar görööchin tribe in Tüsheet Khan aimag sometime by the end of the nineteenth century, this book measures 20.5 x 8.5 cm. The text of this wonderful book-embroidery is made using golden threads, and not a single knot was used in the entire book.
Asutra chanad khyazgaart khürsen naiman Jadamba or ‘Khutagt bilgiinmyangat khemeegdekh ikh khölgön sudar orshiv’ (A Great Sutra Called the One with Eight Thousands Reached into the Beyond of Holy Enlightenment) is written with an ink with gold nuggets on a specially processed dark blue paper, which composes its total 369 pages with a size of 13.3 cm x 53 cm. On the heart of the bookcase there are patterns of ‘Ölziit naiman takhil’ (Eight Blessing Offerings) found and on the sides, the Zendmene (Wish granting symbol) is
There is an outstanding success of print ing Danjuur, a sutra with 26 volumes, Ganjuur with 108 volumes, both printed in cinnabar-block-letters.
Block printings are made using blocks of wood, copper and other metal. Engraving the inscriptions must be done in using a special technique so that the printing is done well. An outstanding example of block-printing is
Buddhist sutra Jadamba, which is kept in the National Library of Mongolia. The Jadamba blocks have 1,000 pure copper sheets, on both sides of which the inscriptions and paintings are engraved at the depth of 5 mm. The engravings are vivid and fine, showing delicate skills. This masterpiece was created by over ten artisans, including Bor Tsültem and Shar under the guidance of Minjüür Agramba. The Ganjuur Buddhist sutra, well-known as Khüree bariin Ganjuur, was created by the beginning of the twentieth century. The sutra consists of 108 volumes, each with around 500 folios. Each page has the engravings on both sides, demonstrating the persistent and meticulous effort and labor that went into creating this work.