INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
MONGOLIAN LEGENDARY PERSONS
Born in 1635, Zanabazar is one of Mongolia's most remarkable and
versatile figures. At the tender age of three, he was deemed to be a
possible gegen, or saint, so at the age of 14 he was sent to Tibet to
study Buddhism under the Dalai Lama. A descendent of Chinggis Khaan, he
was also proclaimed the reincarnation of the Jonangpa line of Tibetan
Buddhism and became the first Bogd Gegen. He is also known in Mongolia as Ondur Gegen.
While in Tibet, Zanabazar learnt the skills of bronze casting. He
returned to kick-start a Mongolian artistic renaissance and become
Mongolia's greatest sculptor. In his spare time he invented the soyombo,
the national symbol of Mongolia, and reformed the Mongolian script. Zanabazar was also a political figure and his struggle with the Zungar
Oirad leader Galdan led to Mongolia's submission to the Manchus in 1691.
Zanabazar died in Beijing in 1723. His body was taken to Urga (modern
Ulaanbaator) and later entombed in a stupa in Amarbayasgalant Khiid. You wiil see many of Zanabazar's creations in monas-:er'es and museums in
Mongolia, and there is a fine collection of his art (particularly his Tara
and 3hyc.ni Buddha statues) in the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts in Ulaanbaator. His sculptures of Tara are supposedly based on his
18-year-old lover. You can recognise images of Zanabazar by his bald, 'OJnd
head and the dorje (thunderbolt symbol) he holds in his right hand
and the bell in his left hand.
- The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art
- exhibits a great collection of paintings and sculptures, among which are some rare religious
items such as tangkas and Buddhist statues. Modern paintings and other art for sale.