Zaya is a Mongolian painter. His art depicts ancient Mongolian fashion and hairstyles, wild animals, and everyday life. Zaya spent two years living as a buddhist monk studying religious art and painting pictures of gods; his work is influenced by Tibetan art traditions as well.
Deer at the Ger, South Mongolia
Five in the morning in the Gobi desert and we stopped at this family’s ger to get some airag. (Airag is the fermented mare’s milk.) I saw this fawn amongst the sheep but couldn’t get an explanation why.
Our vehicle, a problematic Chinese-brand Grand Tiger pick-up truck, ran out of diesel a hundred kilometers later and we were stranded for six or seven hours with only our delicious, alcoholic horse milk to nurture us.
Mongolian horses are small and scruffy, but incredibly tough and sure-footed. Photo by Bruce Kirkby.
Sargent Reckless was a Mongolian horse bought for $250 and trained to carry heavy ammunition to mortars for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines during the Korean War. She liked cigarettes, pancakes, and beer. In one day, she could carry five tons of ammunition. She earned two Purple Hearts and a Good Conduct medal.
A blue-eyed Mongolian horse. I had no idea horses even could have blue eyes. Photo by Taylor Weidman.
A Mongolian herder rides out to check on his animals during a snow storm.
Over the past decade Mongolia has had several dzud - harsh winters when animals cannot find enough food to eat under the snow and die by the millions. There is some worries that this winter will be another dzud.
In the past, there has been one dzud every couple of decades, but climate change has increased their frequency.
Photo by Taylor Weidman.
This painting is one of 30 on display for the 68th anniversary of the Mongolian Institute of Fine Art at the Tsagaan Darium Art Gallery in Ulaanbaatar. It is excellently blue.
The color that is called “blue” in English is two different colors in the Mongolian language, цэнхэр and хѳх (the one in this painting).
Lots of languages have just one word that means both “blue” and “green”, like xanh in Vietnamese or pureuda in Korean (according to this anyway, I don’t speak those languages). In those languages, if someone asked you what color the sky or some leaves were, you would give the same answer. But Mongolian has more blueish greenish colors than English does, which is neat.