If you are not familiar with Mongolian culture, it’s a culture that is stems from the Central Asian tribes who roamed the countryside during the beginning of 3rd and 4th century. Being of nomadic origins and as nomadic people, Mongolians are more geared towards practical application of things and never really considered or expanded on art as much.
Though you will find national instruments like Morin Khuur, the horse fiddle and other musical instruments, with beautiful dresses and traditional clothes, most of their everyday life is pretty practical and down to earth, however it does not mean it’s not going to be fun comparing Western style of decoration and interior design with Mongolian style of home decoration and interior design.
What is Mongolian Art Like
Mongolian art has mostly been similar to folklore legend and simple in style. It’s similar to cartoon drawings, but the simplicity of those drawings and their art gives them a sense of their own unique character. Whereas with Western art and culture, there is more complex ideas and sometimes the art does not have any meaning.
Mongolian art and decoration mostly deals with everyday life of the normal people, animals and landscapes. If you go to a Mongolian gallery, you will find many famous paintings of natural landscapes and open plains of grassland. There isn’t the Western style of modernism as much and the art in way even reflect the lifestyle of Mongolians and their mentality.
The Mentality of Mongolians
Being culturally nomadic, Mongolians grow up to take things directly as is without much subtlety and seem to be more emotionally driven. Though they are hardy and resilient people, they don’t hide any feelings they might have and prefer to say things as is without holding back or considering how it might come across as.
Which is reflected in their art and decoration. They tend to favour bright colors and patterns that look appealing to the eye. While modern day Mongolians are starting become more interested in abstract art and decoration in their homes with a touch of modernism and minimalism, in traditional homes, you will find chests, beds, and carpet patterns that dazzle the eyes with color and vibrance, but not much complexity.
What Mongolians Use For Decoration
Before modern way of lifestyle, Mongolian families and Mongolian interior design consisted mainly of things they could get a hold of. Mongolian fur rugs, Mongolian fur pillows, carpets, chests and dressers made out of birch and other types of wood that abundantly grows in Mongolia.
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The decoration style, at least the traditional style is very simple and rugged. You will feel as if though you each and every item serves a purpse for being there. It’s not necessarily about appearing nice and visually appealing, but moreso for serving a purpose and having a reason for being there.
You might see pictures on dressers, buddhists texts, and paintings of natural landscapes, but they still serve a purpose in reminding the people who they are and where they come from. Comparatively Western style of decor is heavy with props and decoration tools that are not practical but are there to spice up the room of the house.
How Mongolian Decoration Mindset is Changing
There is however a shift since the past few decades. Since Mongolia became a democracy and opened its doors towards Western influence, more and more people are have shown interest in European style of architecture and decoration.
Even walking around the city of Ulaanbaatar, you will find the most recent buildings resemble that of Western inspired buildings with modern touch and flare with sleek windows and high rise buildings. The city Ulaanbaatar is a mix between Soviet bloc influenced structure with Buddhist and Western influences.
The architecture and overall layout of the city also translates to many Mongolian homes and families as well, because you will find a mix of different decoration methods. Some go with completely Western type of decoration, whereas some families still keep their tradition and mix/blend their tastes with something that makes them unique.
One thing you will find a lot of middle income families do is that their furniture are Western in style, but their wall decoration and minor details are still traditional.
However with time, it seems Mongolian art and decoration are going to be influenced more by Western style, so who knows where it will go. Maybe they will come up with a fusion that blends both Mongolian and Western style that becomes its own thing; we’ll just wait and see.