Another mythologizing animal sharing a spark of intellectual passion!
We have the same situation of frustratingly half-told stories occurring repeatedly in the Tech's exhibit. For example, exactly one sentence was dedicated to Genghis' daughters, stating that one of them led a successful conquest of a particular city. Why wasn't there more said about her in the signs? We weren't even given her name! If there truly wasn't anything else known about her, why didn't the signs at least tell us that?
Goodness knows we had an overwhelming amount of information about his sons' territorial conquests. For a display titled "Genghis Khan: The Exhibition," there was an awful lot more about the empire, the battles, and the sons than him — and even then we didn't get all of the story!
If I'm remembering correctly, Genghis' eldest son Jochi was apparently somewhat of a drunkard. It was Jochi's brilliant first wife and his clever generals who respectively managed and expanded the growing empire. No mention of that in the signs, of course. Nor was there explanation of a curious and fascinating comment made about Börte: that her husband Temüjin was in later life almost afraid of her… and her dogs?! What was that all about?
On the positive side, at least there was one panel sign dedicated solely to the Mongol women, describing the daily work of maintaining the herds and ger, and noting they too could ride and shoot. Next to it was a half-ger, set up so we could easily see inside.
From the scent of a bridle and saddle sitting within (very-smoky-leather smell, phew!), much of what was there had been actually used, not just built for the display. I unwittingly greatly amused and entertained my companions at that point, excitedly pointing out the various equipment, and details about their uses and decoration. :)
There was a mummy there also, which was listed as quite a find, since her grave was unlooted when discovered. She was apparently a Mongol noblewoman, considering her height and the richness of her burial garb. I was quite fascinated by her beautiful clothing and grave goods, which were all carefully laid out for us to see and learn from… although I confess to feeling a slight uneasiness at sight of her still somewhat flesh-covered skeleton. Despite the courteous sign which mentioned human body parts in the next room, and asking the observers to please be respectful, it seemed… oddly disrespectful to expose her so.
One of my housemates mentioned a similar feeling when I emerged from my wondering study of her, so after a moment of thought I suggested we offer our thanks to her spirit for allowing us to learn from her. I have no idea if giving my respects means anything to her, but as a recent graduate of a program in women's spirituality it seemed appropriate, and it made me feel a bit better to recognize her as a real person — not just a display.
There were also two very nice displays, one of which had three Mongol warriors in full armor: a mounted warrior, a standing warrior, and a charioteer. Considering the amount of iron armor they were wearing (pony included), it was a good bet these were extremely wealthy Mongols, rather than the average warrior in the army. Also, I wasn't aware the Mongols had chariots! I wish they'd showed one, or even just a drawing of one, so we had some idea of what they looked like and what their job was. Were they the light chariots in which warriors rode to battle, dismounting for honorable single combat, like the early Celts and ancient Greeks used? Were they larger and heavier, like the big wagons used to transport the gers? No idea.
Bestiaries depict mythical, moralizing animals, but are also potential allegorical sparks that can bloom into brilliant mental bonfires. My bestiary is this mythologizing animal's fascinated exploration of beauty & meaning in the wonder of existence -- in the hopes of inspiring yet more joyous flares of intellectual passion.
Help yourself & me too!