November 19, 2011–January 22, 2012
This exhibition is the largest collection ever assembled of the treasures of the Empire of Genghis Khan, from the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as well as private collections.
Genghis Khan is famous as the ruthless Mongol warlord who conquered half the known world. Under his rule, the Mongol Empire grew to be four times the size of the Roman Empire at its largest extent; or equal in size to the continent of Africa. Less well known is that Genghis Khan is also revered as an innovative leader and statesman who brought unity, stability and religious tolerance to most of Asia and parts of Europe.
The exhibition tells the amazing true story of Khan — his life, his land, his people, his culture and his enduring legacy. Highlights include a collection of rare treasures such as jewelry, ornaments and musical instruments, as well as weapons made famous by Khan and his warriors. See models of powerful siege weapons —a traction trebuchet (an early catapult) and an oversized triple-crossbow — which were vital to the Mongols’ capture of walled cities. Along with other weapons such as battle axes, scimitars, lances and powerful bows, steel stirrups and even silk underwear were instrumental parts of Mongolian war attire. Steel stirrups allowed warriors to stand in the saddle and deliver devastating blows to foot soldiers and rival cavalry. Silk undergarments were tough and lightweight, not easily torn under heavy armor or by arrows.
A recent addition to this exhibition is a mummified Mongolian princess from the time of Genghis Khan — along with her wood coffin, fine silk robes, pearl earrings and many other tomb treasures. The mummy, on loan from the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Science, was discovered by Mongolian archaeologists in the Western Gobi Desert, naturally preserved by the arid conditions of a sheltered cave. The location of Khan’s tomb is still one of modern archaeology’s most enduring mysteries.