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Mongol Yüan Dynasty

Banners of Chingiz Khan

Chinese Rule

Bogdo Gegens of Mongolia


Kingdom and Republic

Mongolian Armed Forces

Mongolian Provinces




In Mongolia Djengiz Khan founded a state in 1206. He and his successors, the Yüan dynasty, would later conquer China from the capital Karakorum.

The Yuan Dynasty came to an end in 1368 when Toghon Timur was deposed and succeeded by the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Hung Wu.

From the 14th to the 16th century, the empire of Djengiz Khan was first divided into a western and an eastern part. Later the eastern part was again divided into North and South Mongolia.

The Manchus conquered South Mongolia in 1639, which from that time is called Inner Mongolia. In 1691 North Mongolia was also conquered (which was named Halha or Outer Mongolia). In 1911, Outer Mongolia became autonomous. On 10 July 1921, an independent kingdom was proclaimed that after the death of the last Khan on 26 November 1924 was converted into a People's Republic with the name of "Bugd Nairamdach Mongol Ard Uls".


The seat of the Khans was moved during the reign of Kubilai Khan to Khan-balik (Peking/Beijing) that had been conquered in 1215. Marco Polo also reported on the court of the Khans in Beijing.

After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in Beijing, Togan Timur fled to Mongolia and founded a new capital: Bars Khota. Afterwards, Mongolia was ruled by Mongolian monarchs who had to submit to the Manchus after 1644.




Khans of Mongolia

T’ai Tsu (Chingiz)




T’ai Tsung (Ögödei)




Ting Tsung (Güyük)




Hsien Tsung (Möngke)


Shih Tsu (Qubilai)


Move of the capital Karakorum to Peking 1279


Biligtü Khan


Dayan Khan


Altan Khan


Ligdan Khan



Chinese Rule 1644-1911


Bogdo Gegens of Urga (Ulaan Bataar) under Chinese rule 1635 – 1911


Bogdo Gegens of Urga *

Zanabazar (S.: Jñanavajra; M: Öndür Gegen)

(Losang Tenbey Gyaltsen [Blo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan])


Losang Tenbey Drönmey (Blo bzang bstan pa’i srgon me)


Yeshe Tenbey Nyima (Ye shes bstan pa’i nyi ma)




Losang Tupten Wongchuk (Blo bzang thub bstan dbang phyug)


Losang Tslutrim Jikney (Blo bzang tshul khrim ‘jigs med)


Losang Palden Tenpa (Blo bzang dpal ldan nsatn pa)


Ngawang Chökyi Wongchuk Trinley Gyatso

(Ngag dbang chos kyi dbang phyug ‘phrin las rgya mtsho)


Ngawang Losang Chökyi Nyima Tensin Wongchuk

(Ngag dbang blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma bstanb ‘dzin dbang-phyug)



*Classical Tibetan forms of names follow the pronounced form. De Bogdo Gegens are the reincarnations of  Zanabazar. The dates of their reigne are thus the same as their dates of living. In 1924 Urga was renamed Ulaan Baataar.




The word ‘Mongol’ was used as a tribal name until 1206, when Temüjin (Chinggis Qahan) was elevated to Great Qahan. The name then became synonymous with the state until 1271, when the Great Qahan Qubilai introduced the name Yuan Dynasty. Since then, ‘Mongol’ has been used as a general name for the Mongol people.


Khans of Mongolia - Yüan Dynasty



T’ai Tsu (Chingiz)



Chinggis Qahan’s name (Temujin) derives from the Orkhon Turkish word temür, ‘iron’, with the suffix -jin, indicating agency; it therefore means ‘blacksmith’. [1]


Falco rusticolus – Falconidæ


A gerfalcon was associated with Chinggis Qahan when he was nine years old and was descibed in the Secret History of the Mongols:


Ch1 [61] When Temüjin was nine, Yisügei-ba’atur decided to find a wife for him among the Olqunu’ut relatives of him mother Hö’elün, his mother’s brothers. They set out together. While travelling, they met Dei-sechen148 of the Onggirats149 between Chekcher and Chiqurgu.

Ch1 [62] Dei-sechen said: ‘Yisügei-quda, 150 who will you see?’ Yisügei-ba’atur replied: ‘I am going to the Olqunu’ut people with my son to ask his mother’s brothers for a wife.’

Deisechen said: ‘This boy of yours has fire in his eyes and light in his face. 151

Ch1 [63] Yisügei-quda, last night I had a dream. A white gerfalcon, holding both the sun and the moon, flew down and perched on my hand. I have not talked to the people about my dream. When we gazed in the past at the sun and moon, they were merely seen. Now this gerfalcon lights with them on my hand. The white one descends onto my hand.


Here the bird keeps the  sun and the moon in its claws together making the symbols of te Empire, the State and the Ruler.

Albeit a gerfalcon only appears scarcely in the sources it nevertheless was there. It occurs in a manuscript of some hundred years later but also on medals of passports or documents of identity.

The gerfalcon itself or a bird of prey finds its predecessor  in 7th and 8th century China and Gök Turkey.


Military official, T’ang dynasty (618-907)

Bird of prey, head downwards

Marble head of the Gokturk general Kul Tigin

 (685 - †731).


Chinggis Khan seated, with his sons Jöchi and Ögödei on the left.

From Rashid ad-Din’s Manuscript, Jami al-Tawarikh, early 14th century.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. [2]


T’ai Tsu crowned with a crown of three leaves. His throne crested with a golden bird. 


Detail of previous [3]

Mongolian passports from the Chingiz Khan  era

Seal supported by dragons and crested with a bird, wings expanded


At the same time


Ch2 [73] Temüjin wept and went out. Lady Hö’elün, who had been left behind when they set off, raised the flag [161] and set out on horseback.


note 161 The flag was said to be the army’s eye, the drum its ear. Chinggis told Shigi Qutuqu: ‘Be my eye and ear.’ See Sections 203 and 252.


Ch. 8. [202]. After (Chinggis Qahan) had unified the people of the felt-walled tents, they assembled at the source of the Onon River in the Year of the Tiger.(1206) After hoisting a white banner with nine pennants, they bestowed the title ‘Qan’ on Chinggis Qahan and the title ‘Guy Ong’ on Muqali. [4]


In all likelihood Chingiz Khan (1206-'27) himself used a white banner with a gerfalcon with a raven in his claws. [5]  On a non-contemporary portrait of the coronation and inauguration of Djengiz Khan in 1206, (shown above) he is represented with a crown and he is seated in a tent, its top adorned with a (golden) bird that holds the middle between an eagle and a phoenix.


The Banners of Chingiz Khan


In Sept. 1983, a book titled “Altan Ordon nai Dailga” (the Offering Ceremonies of the Golden Ordon) by Mr. Sain-Jirgal and Mr. Sharaldai was published in classic Mongol script. [6] In it the following banners of Chinggis Khan are described:


Chingiz Khan's Khara Sülde


The Khara Sülde or "Chinggis Khan-nii Kharia Yikhit Khara Sülde" is also called "Dörven Khölt Khara Sülde" (Khara Sülde with four feet).

Folk tales mention that the Khara Sülde would be raised when the Khan was at war. The Chagaan (white) Sülde was raised in peace time or in a place far away from war.

The Khara Sülde was the Khan's battlefield banner, standing for the power of the "Everlasting Blue Heaven" which can concentrate and mobilize the spirit and power of all Mongols to defeat their enemies in all time in all directions.

The place where the Khara Sülde was worshipped in Ordos was called "Shine-in Khushuu" in the former Jiun-Wang Banner where the Ulaan Muren river and Khökh Usun river meet. Later, when Chinese peasants started to cultivate the area, the Sülde was forced to move north, finally settled in today's Sülde-in Khoroo Gachaa (Gachaa, the lowest Municipal unit in Inner Mongolia) of the Bor-Toig Sumu (Sumu: township), Ejen-Khoroo Banner (Banner: Khushuu in Mongol, County). On June 14th of 1956, the Khara Sülde was moved to the new Mausoleum.

The Sülde consists of a about one Tokhoi (1 tokhoi = 32 cm) long double-edged spearhead of steel called Jelme, a plate of silver Char with 9 x 9 = 81 holes along the rim and a Shilvi - a long wooden pole that serves as the handle of the Sülde.

The Char would be fixed to the Jelme a short distance from the Jelme's lower end and the Shilvi would be inserted into a hole on the lower end of the Jelme and would be wedged by a silver wedge (Shongnuurga) and then the joint would be wrapped by white silk.

"Khükhüül", bunches of chestnut stallions mane, would be tied to the holes of the Char by leather strings made of black goat's skin. The Shilvi was 13.5 Tokhoi (432 cm) long and made of cedar. A 12 Tokhoi (384 cm) long yellow silk "coat" with 1000 buttons would be put onto the Sülde and a supporting Shilvi would also be fixed to the main Shilvi to ensure the main Sülde's stability. Then the Sülde's main Shilvi and the supporting Shilvi would be inserted into the holes on the back of giant stone tortoise.

Four "Elchi" (that is a messenger or courier, sometimes assistant of a Khan) Sülde (the Elchi Sülde was shorter than the main Sülde, the Shilvi of the Elchi Sülde was 9 Tokhoi) stand around the main Sülde and are fastened up to the main Sülde with a 13 Tokhoi (416 cm) long rope made of stallion mane with yellow silk coat. The four Elchi Sülde standing around the main Sülde serve as the four feet of the Khara Sülde.

Since the Sülde was said to be descended from the High Heaven, it should always be exposed to Heaven and accompany with the Heaven, and for this reason, the Sülde has been exposed in the open for hundreds of years and it should never be placed under any shelter. Also, because the Sülde was the Khan's very important Shitügen, the offering ceremonies of the Sülde have been held separately from the ceremonies of the Khan and had its unique procedures and schedules of ceremonies.

The offering ceremonies of the Khara Sülde were:

Baga Dailga (baga means small or not big, dailga means offering ceremony), held on every 1st days of a month.

Jalgamj  (continuing offering), held on every 3rd day of a month,

Juslang-in Dailga (summer time ceremony), held on the 3rd day of the 7th month of the year according to the Ordos calendar (the 7th month is the 1st month of the summer).

Yikh Dailga (grand offering), held on 14th day of the 10th month of the year of the Ordos calendar

Togshiulkh Dailga,  held on the 5th day of the first month of the winter in every Dragon year.


Alag Sülde


Alag Sülde had been presented offerings in the Nangsu Gachaa of Chagaan-Tologai Sumu, Otog Banner for many years. It had its own Darkhad and Yaamutad. According to elders in the area, the Alag Sülde was the Sülde of Khavutu Khasar,  a younger brother of the Khan and famous for his excellent archery skills. The Alag Sülde was similar to the Khara Sülde except for the decoration on its Shilvi and Ochir Jelme (the spear-like steel).

It was called Alag Sülde, because of that decorations. The Khükhüül of the Alag Sülde was also made of the mane of chestnut stallions (not from black and white stallions as some people say).


Chagaan Sülde


In 1206 Chinggis Khan founded the Great Mongol Empire and iconized the state white banners, inherited from the Huns, as the Great State White Banner of the Mongol Empire.

The banners were made of white tail hair of 1,000 stallions, symbolizing the carrying of the state affairs with the power of a thousand horses. Traditions have it that not a single grey hair should be used.


Yisün Khölt Chagaan Tug (white banner with 9 feet. Tug: banner or flag) or Yisün Khükhüül Chagaan Tug (white banner with 9 Khükhüül) is mentioned in many historical works of the Mongols.

The White Sülde (or Tug) was presented offerings not only in Ordos, but also in Chakhar (Chakhar: an area including parts of today's Shilin-Gol League, Ulaanchab League, also known as Chakhar Eight Banners) and Khalkha (today's Mongolia). The Chagaan Sülde has been kept in Muu-Bulag Gachaa, Narin-Gol Sumu, Üüshin Banner. The Khükhüül of the White Sülde was made of mane of white stallions and 8 Elchi Sülde surrounded the main Sülde. The offering ceremonies of the White Sülde have been held several times a year (one of the ceremonies was held in the 13th day of the 8th month, Ordos calendar) and a grand ceremony was held every third year.

According to the russian Mongolist Vladimirtsov ("The history of the social structure of the Mongols"), a Chagaan Sülde was also kept in the Logosiid Banner in Khalkha and held offering ceremony in every 3 years.


White Banner

The White Banner is known in Mongolian as 'Yisun Kholt Tsagaan Tug', or 'Peace Banner'. It is mentioned in many historical works about the ancient Mongols. The White Banner was raised during times of peace, or in a place away from war. In a tradition that continues to the present day, Mongolians present offerings to the White Banner. The main part of the White Banner is made from the tails of white mares. The primary banner is surrounded by eight additional banners. Every three years, an offering to the White Banner was held during a grand ceremony. Since the 19th century, this ceremony has formed part of the annual Naadam celebration.


Dornogobi /MONTSAME/ One of the eight white banners of the Nine White Banners of Chinggis Khan is being kept in the local museum of Sainshand city, Dornogobi aimag. Chinggis Khan and his descendants used to place the eight satellite banners along the border as a symbol of protection

During the Qing rule, the Nine White Banners were kept in strictly secret and placed separately. In the 1600s the banners were settled along with 100 convoys at the Khutag Mountain near the southeastern border of the country. The banners were worshipped and placed at the Sulden Khukh hill of Khuvsgul soum of Dornogobi aimag. The last standard-bearer D.Dorj worshipped the banner until mid-1930s and when the repression began it was interrupted.

Currently, over 200 of his descendants are continuing the family line of standard-bearer. White banners were used to be placed along the country border at the Sulden Khukh hill of Dornogobi aimag, former Lu Janjin khoshuu (county) of Uvs aimag in the west and Targan Baatar van khoshuu of Gobi-Altai aimag.

The Mongolian White Banner was destroyed during the 1930s repressions and was later restored according to the rules.




The Constitution of Mongolia, adopted in 1992 says that “The traditional Great White Banner of the unified Mongolian State is a state ceremonial attribute.” As specifically outlined in the Law on State Symbols and Seals, the horse tail hair should not be shorter than 80 centimeters and the horse tail hair should come from white stallions from all the 21 aimags of Mongolia.

The Great White Banner is located in the Government House and placed on a round terraced foundation, filled with soils also from all the aimags.

The banners are topped with a trident (trishul), made of steel and the tridents in the largest of the nine banners are shaped in stylized flames. Bundles of horse tail hair are held together with four steel rings and they are a symbol of strength and tenacity.

The Great White Banners are blessed on the eve of the National Naadam Festival by a Decree of the President of Mongolia and are carried by horse-riding guards of honor to the Central Stadium where the Naadam Festivals begin on 11 July every year.




Tai Tsung (Ögödei)



In 1235 Ögödei made Karakorum the capital of the Mongol Empire. From his reign some stone turtles have been preserved in the area. These are cosmic symbols meaning ‘The North’ and as such they are freqently represented on chinese mirrors.


* In Chinese cosmology the four points of the compass are symbolized by the four mythological beasts. This is related to the early cosmological views  in China that heaven consisted of four parts. Every part  had the shape of a beast and so every beast was the symbol of the corresponding part of heaven, season and point of the compass.

The East, related with Spring had the shape of a dragon, the West and Autumn was symbolized by a white tiger. Both animals were looking to the south. The South, residence of the Summer was symbolized by a bird, the North, residence of the Winter, by a tortoise fighting or copulating with a snake. Their heads were directed to the west.

In addition every beast was associated with one of the main colours: they are called the Blue Dragon, the White Tiger, the Vermilion Bird and the Black Warriors.


Photo Ludo Kuipers 2011

A carved stone turtle,

about 300 metres north of the wall around Erdene Zuu Monastery; marking the boundaries of ancient Karakorum, acting as protectors of the city The turtles originally had an inscribed stone stele mounted vertically on their back.





Ting Tsung (Güyük)



The Imperial Seal of Mongolia had inscriptions in Mongolian script or other scripts used by Mongol regimes.

According to Plano Carpini, the Russian craftsman Kozma made a seal for Güyük Khan. This seal might have been the seal used to stamp the letter to Pope Innocent IV.

The Polish scholar, Cyrill Koralevsky, made a photo of the seal in 1920. The prominent French Mongolist, P.Pelliot, later translated the Mongolian scripts on the seal. However, the Mongolists believe that Kozma made only one of the imperial seals and a seal on the letter is Genghis Khan's, which was inherited by his successors. During the Yuan Dynasty, ruling the whole of China, there were several seals. Ayushridar had an imperial seal with the inscription “Northern Yuan”. In the 16th century, the Mongolians used a square seal. Ejei Khan gave one of those seals to the Manchus in 1635, who in turn established the Qing Dynasty.



Letter of the great khan  Güyük to Pope Innocent IV 

o.O., 3.-11. November 1246

Paper, 1012 x 200 mm, well preserved; the document consists of two later joined parts. The double stamp in red ink serves as a seal  A.A., Arm. i-xviii, 1802 (2)


With this letter, the Mongolian Great Khan Güyük answers point by point to a number of requests and complaints concerning the Khan's conduct, which Innocent IV had made in a letter. Among other things, the Khan says he does not understand the Pope's desire his being baptized, and he is not disposed to vacate the conquered Majar (Hungarian) territories. Repeatedly he repeats that he has little faith in the pope's will to maintain peaceful relations between the two powers, at least until Innocent IV himself and the Christian princes have appeared at his court to pay him the due honor. The letter is written in Persian language, the preamble Turkish, the date Arabic.

The document of the Great Khan was brought to the papal court by the Franciscan John of Pian del Carpine; he left Lyon on 16 April 1245, where the council ended on 28 June, and returned to Rome at the end of 1247.[7]


Seal of  Güyük in mongol-uigur  script.


Seal of Güyük Khan in classical Mongolian script, as found on a letter sent to Pope Innocent IV.

Möngke ṭngri-yin küčündür. Yeke Mongγol ulus-un dalai-in qanu ǰrlγ. Il bulγa irgen-dür kürbesü, büsiretügüi azatuγai.


Seal of Güyük






Hsien Tsung (Möngke)



In the journal of Guillaume de Rubrouck of his trip to China in the years 1253-‘55 there is indeed a report of the audience with Möngke but no description of the room or the symbols that could have been there. However he reports a fountain in the shape of a silver tree in the courtyard of the palace of Möngke which also can be interpreted as a symbol of the territory of the Mongol empire, providing its abundant resources. The description reads:

....And because it would not be very healthy or honest to carry plain vases of milk, or other drinks in this palace, this William had made him a great silver tree, at the foot of which were four lions also of silver, each having a channel from which mare's milk came out. The four pipes were hidden in the tree, rising to the top, and from there flowing down. On each of its channel hogsheads there were golden snakes, the tails of which came to surround the body of the tree. From one of these pipes flowed wine, from the other from the Caracosomos, or purified mare's milk, from the third of the Ball, or drink made of honey, & from the last of the Teracine made from sweetbreads. At the foot of the tree, each boss had its silver vase to receive it. Between these four channels at the very top was a silver angel, holding a trumpet; & below the tree there was a large hole, where a man could hide, with a fairly wide conduit which rose through the middle of the tree just to the angel. This Guillaume had made bellows at the beginning to blow the trumpet, but that did not give enough wind.


It is thought that the tree was moved to Beijing when the capital was transferred to that city


The silver tree at Karakorum

From: Bergeron, Pierre:Voyages faits principalement en Asie dans les XII, XIII, XIV,  XV SIECLES (..Guillaume de Rubruquis..) A la  Haye MDCCXXXV.p. 96.  [8]


Shih Tsu (Qubilai)

1260 / 1279-1294



A painting of Shizu, better known as Kublai Khan, as he would have appeared in the 1260s (although this painting is a posthumous one executed shortly after his death in February of 1294, by the Nepalese artist and astronomer Anige). The painting is done in the Chinese portrait style. It is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan; (inv. nr. zhonghua 000324). colors and ink on silk,. Original size: 47 Î 59.4 cm. For the full page, see Image:YuanEmperorAlbumKhubilaiFull.jpg.


Kubilai Khan (1260-'94) (it is said) would have used a hare as a symbol of speed.

Saddle arch with hares

Mongol Empire, 1st half 13th century.

State Hermitage Museum Saint Petersburg (ChM – 1199-1200)


The hole is supposed to have contained a red jewel as a symbol of the sun. This would have created an achievement of a sun supported by two hares, perhaps the heraldic emblem of the personal staff of Kubilai..


Marco Polo, however, reports that:



“....Above his (Kubilai Khan’s) head flew his banner with the emblem of the sun and moon, so high that it could be seen on every side.” [9]


And also:


For a commander of 100 has a tablet of silver; a commander of 1,000 a tablet of gold, or rather of silver gilt; and a commander of 10,000 a tablet of gold with a lion’s head. The tablets of command over 100 or 1,000 weigh 120 saggi apiece (= 560 g. ca), those with a lion’s head weigh 220 (= 1,026 g. ca). On all these tablets is written a command in these words: ‘By the might of the Great God and the great grace he has given to our Emperor, blessed be the name of the Khan, and death and destruction to all who do not obey him. ‘Let me add that all who have these tablets also have warrants setting forth in writing all the powers vested in them by their office.

As for the commander of 100,000, or the generalissimo of a great army, he has a tablet of gold weighing 300 saggi (1,400 g.) with an inscription such I have mentioned; and at the foot of the tablet is portrayed the lion, and above it is an image of the sun and moon. In addition he has warrants of high command and great authority. And whenever he goes riding he must carry an umbrella over his head in token of his exalted rank; and when he sits he must sit on a silver chair. To these dignitaries the Great Khan also gives a tablet with the sign of the gerfalcon; these tablets are given to the very great barons so that they may exercise full powers equivalent to his own. [10]


Gyrfalcon: Falco rusticolus - Falconidæ. This last is the Chinese He emblem of generals


Move of the capital from Karakorum to Peking 1279.


Chéng Tsung (Temür)



Textile with paired parrots. China or Mongolia, 13th-14th century

The Art and History Trust, Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, F.C. (LTS 1995.2.8).


The birds are supporting a tree-like device. In de corners diamonds enclosing crosses of thunderbolts (dorje gyatum). There is a reason to think that the birds are not parrots (which do not occur in Mongolia) but gerfalcons which would explain the preciousness of the textile and also the dorje gyatums.


Wu Tsung (Qaishan)



Jèn Tsung (Ayurbarwada)



Ying Tsung (Shidebala)



T’ai-ting Ti (Yesün Temür)



Wên Tsung (Tugh Temür)



Shun Ti –Toghon Temür

1330–32, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), China. Detail ca. 44 cm wide from a silk tapestry (kesi);

Overall: 245.5 x 209 cm .

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,

From the Vajrabhairava Mandala

Period: Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Date: ca. 1330–32

Culture: China

Medium: Silk tapestry (kesi)

Dimensions: Overall: 245.5 x 209 cm

Overall (framed and mounted): H.. 288.3 cm; W.. 229.9 cm; 9.5 cm; Wt. 104.5 kg

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.54

The four portraits at the bottom, identified by Tibetan inscriptions, represent Tugh Temur, the great grandson of Khubilai Khan, who served as emperor of the Yuan dynasty (1328–29), his older brother, (Khutughtu Khan, 1329) and their respective consorts.This silk tapestry likely was commissioned for use in a Vajrabhairava initiation at the court.



Toghon Temür and his brother Qoshila  are both dressed in clothes decorated with dragons.


Ming Tsung (Qoshila)



Ming Tsung


Wên Tsung (Tugh Temür)

 2nd time1329-1332


Ning Tsung (Irinjubal)



Shun Ti (Toghon Temür)



Northern Yüan Dynasty in Mongolia

Umardu Yuwan Ulus



Biligtü Khan


Uskhal Khan Tögüs Temür


Dayan Khan


Altan Khan



Altan Khan on a buddhist painting


Ligdan Khan



Mongolia ruled by Qing-emperors of China 1644-1911


Under the Qing dynasty (1636–1912), Greater Mongolia was administered in a different way for each region: of which Outer Mongolia corresponds to the modern state of Mongolia, plus the Russian-administered region of Tannu Uriankhai, and a part of northern Xinjiang. It included the four leagues (aimag) of the Khalkha Mongols north of the Gobi, as well as the Tannu Uriankhai and Khovd regions in northwestern Mongolia, which were overseen by the General of Uliastai from the city of Uliastai.(the de facto capital).


Bogdo Gegens of Urga (Ulaan Bataar)*


The Jebtsundamba Khutuktu (Mongolian: Жавзандамба хутагт, Jawzan Damba Khutagt; Chinese: 哲布尊丹巴呼圖克圖; Wylie: rje btsun dam pa hu thug tu, THL Jetsün Dampa Hutuktu "Venerable Excellent Incarnate Lama") are the spiritual heads of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. They also hold the title of Bogd Gegen, making them the top-ranked lamas in Mongolia.


The Bogdo Gegens were the spiritual leaders of the Mongols during Chinese rule. They resided in Urga, the later Ulaan Baatar. The Bogdo Gegens after Zanabazar are considered his reincarnations. After 1924, reincarnations were no longer permitted under the People's Republic. In the thirties, the entire Buddhist religious system was dismantled by the government. Since 1992 attempts have been made to revitalize at least parts of the monastic system.


Zanabazar (S.: Jñanavajra; M: Öndür Gegen)

(Losang Tenbey Gyaltsen [Blo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan])



Portrait of Zanabazar

Attributed to Zanabazar (1635-1723) Late 17th -early 18th century

Colors on cotton. H.: 90.8 cm. W.: 69.7 cm. Museum of Fine Arts



Deity: Dorje Shugden (Tibetan)

Alternative name: Vajra Rudra (Sanskrit)

Dorje Shugden is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. He took the form of a Dharma Protector in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings, especially the important teachings on the Middle Way View. Reminiscent of Manjushri’s form, Dorje Shugden carries a meandering sword and rides a snowlion that represents the fearlessness of a fully enlightened Buddha. Thus, he has great strength to overcome obstacles of the body, speech and mind, and create suitable conditions for our spiritual practice to flourish. Furthermore, he carries a jewel-spitting mongoose and a vajra hook to symbolise that he has the tremendous ability to bestow wealth and resources.


Statue of Zanabazar

Gilt bronze and cold gold painting. 18th cent.

h. 34 cm., b. 30 cm / © Lama Temple Museum, Ulaanbaatar



02 Lobsang Tenbey Drönmey (Blo bzang bstan pa’i srgon me)




Lobzang Tenpai Dronme (blo bzang bstan pa'i sgron me) was born in Khalkha – one of the Six Tümen, or military units, established during the Yuan dynasty and home of the Khalkha Mongol ethnic group – in 1724, the wood-male dragon year of the twelfth sexagenary cycle


03 Yeshe Tenbey Nyima (Ye shes bstan pa’i nyi ma)



The third Bogdo Gegen celebrating in Jehol


On his left perhaps emperor Kao Tsung (Ch’ien Lung 1735-1796) in black dress with dragon medallion, and officials of the court.


The following portraits * from: https://livetv.mn/p/2705


03 Yeshe Tenbey Nyima *


04 Losang Tupten Wongchuk (Blo bzang thub bstan dbang phyug)



04 Losang Tupten Wongchuk *


05 Losang Tslutrim Jikney (Blo bzang tshul khrim ‘jigs med)



05 Losang Tslutrim Jikney *


06 Losang Palden Tenpa (Blo bzang dpal ldan nsatn pa)



06 Losang Palden Tenpa *


07 Ngawang Chökyi Wongchuk Trinley Gyatso

(Ngag dbang chos kyi dbang phyug ‘phrin las rgya mtsho)



07 Ngawang Chökyi Wongchuk Trinley Gyatso *


08 Ngawang Losang Chökyi Nyima Tensin Wongchuk

(Ngag dbang blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma bstanb ‘dzin dbang-phyug)


Bogdo Khan 18.11.1911-07.1921


The Eighth Bogdo as a child.


Throne of Ngawang Losang Chökyi Nyima Tensin Wongchuk

Palace museum Ulaan Bataar


On the back the chinese coiled dragon and on the cloth a cross of  thunderbolts or dorje gyatum, the symbol of harmony between the secular and religious power. In the four corners a swastika


жучийн хаадын тамганууд

seals of the kings of the kings (from right to left)



Khüree amban.png

In the holy city of Urga (Ulaan Baatar), an amban (Mongol: Хүрээний амбан ноён, Chinese: 庫倫辦事大臣 Kùlún bànshì dàchén) was stationed in order to assert Qing control over the Mongol dependencies. He controlled all temporal matters, and was specially charged with the control of the frontier town of Kiakhta and the trade conducted there with the Russians. Urga was also the residence of the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, who was the spiritual head of the Mongol Khalkha tribes. The Khutuktu ranked third in degree of veneration among the dignitaries in the Tibetan Buddhism, after the Dalai Lama and Panwchen Lama. He resided in a sacred quarter on the western side of the town and acted as a spiritual counterpart of the Qing amban.



1890 ca Urtuu (imperial courier) cover, impressed with grand seal of he Amban of Urga, sent from his office to Tutsetu Khan of Mongolia



Sando (Mongolian: Сандо; 1871-1941, Han Zhang, Mongolia was a white flag man, Hangzhou garrison banner. Literati, painter, and political figure in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China, Amban of Urga.

White Flag


After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, Sando, the last Manchu amban was expelled by Mongol forces, fleeing to China proper via Russia.


Æ To: Mongolia Kingdom


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 © Hubert de Vries 2020-04-17




[1] https://jigjids.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/the_secret_history_of_the_mongols_the_life_and_times_of_chinggis_khan1.pdf. Ch3 note 146 See Eldengtei et al. 1980, pp. 257–258

[2] Sayf al-Vâhidî. Hérât. Afghanistan - P.M. History 2/2011. (Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des Manuscrits. Division orientale. Supplément persan 1113, fol. 44v)]

[3] For a discussion about the reperesntations of Genghiz Khan: Isabelle Charleux. Chinggis Khan: Ancestor, Buddha or Shaman?: On the uses and abuses of the portrait of Chinggis Khan. Mongolian studies, The Mongolian society, Bloomington (Indiana, EtatsUnis), 2009, 31, pp.207-258. ffhalshs-00613828f

[4] Guy Ong was a title of Chinese origin meaning ‘Prince of the State’. See Dorontib 1979, p. 223, n. 5. In reality, the title was not conferred until twelve years later, in 1218. Jebe’s mission, mentioned in the next line, also happened in 1218 rather than in 1206. See Dorontib 1979, pp. 223–224, n. 6.

Whitney Smith (p.62) cites this passage as follows:   ... And thus ... in the year of the Tiger (1206), when he had assembled his armies at the sources of the river Onan, and when he had planted a large white flag with nine feet, they conferred on Djengis the title Khan. (Secret History of the Mongols) (The genius of Djengis, a great falcon, was painted on the middle of the flag.) Each slip (= foot) was decorated with the tail of a yak. ​​[-] At the top of the mast a golden flaming trident. [-] The Kalmucks continued to carry the flag until the 20th century.

[5] Erenzen, Hara Davan: Djengiz Khan kak polkovodets. Belgrad, 1929 p. 15. (Solovjev, p. 127, 38)).

[6] http://archive.li/G0xQU It provides the most comprehensive and first hand materials on the offering ceremonies of the Genghis Khan's Eight White Ordon and other related events. Since one of the authors himself is a Darkhad and the other is a long time researcher at the Yikh Juu League's Bureau of Culture, we can count on the contents and facts which stated in the book.

[7] Lit.: Pelliot, Les Mongols, S. 3-30; Il sigillo nella storia della civiltà, hg. v. Martini, S. 141, Nr. 200.

[8] https://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/en/fs1/object/display/bsb10901329_00243.html?zoom=0.9000000000000004

[9] Marco Polo, Travels ed. Penquin Classics p. 116

[10] Ibid p. 121

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