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Felt carpet of the Hunnu
U.50-3-55
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The carpet is a National Treasure. This an exquisite quilted felt carpet and is a unique specimen of Nomad art and Central Asian history. It is an applique art. It was made in the following way: The felt was covered with red silk and fringed with dark brown silk. Onto the silk geometric designs and nine trees were embroidered, and between these trees 18 animals were depicted fighting in pairs. The animal figures were cut separately and sewn onto the carpet with woolen threads. They are identified as yak bulls, deer, fantastic tiger-like animals with manes and bird-like beings. This masterpiece of art was made by a keen observer of nature who knew well the character and habits of wildlife. The course and dynamics of fighting, along with its tragedies are conveyed very skillfully by the artist. The motif of the deer running away from the terrible bird-like being, which is seizing it, is repeated four times, while the motif of the bull trying to butt the tiger-like animal is repeated five times. The Hunnu finds show that their favorite style of ornamentation was the animal style. Animal figures on the objects of daily usage are reminiscent of gold and bronze castings often found in excavations in Mongolia and Southern Siberia. All these finds testify to the art of the Hunnu going back to the Bronze Age and being developed in close connection with the art of other nomads in Central Asia.

History of the Object
An aristocrat’s tomb was uncovered in Noyon Mountain Tov Province in 1924 by a group of Russian archaeologists headed by P. K. Kozlov. The tomb was situated at about eight meters underground. Noyon Uul (Mountain) was a sacred burial place for Hunnu aristocrats, and archaeologists have found about 200 Hunnu tombs in this area. Hunnu tombs consist of a double square wooden structure, inside which was a wooden coffin. The Hunnu founded the first Empire in Mongolia, governed by the Shanui Kings. The founding of the Hunnu Empire dates back to 209 BCE, when Modun Shanyuin removed his father Tumen from the throne and established himself as Shanyuin or King of the Hunnu Empire. Under his reign the Hunnu Empire became powerful and occupied an area stretching from modern day Turkmenistan in the west, to the Korean Peninsula in the east, and from the Great Wall in China to Lake Baikal in the North. The Hunnu Empire marks a decisive point in Central Asian history. After the a friendship treaty between the Hunnu Empire and the Chinese Han Dynasty finished in 198 BCE the Great Wall was built.

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Type
Archaeological 
Materials
felt, silk, woolen threads 
Measurements
Height 67.5 cm. Length 260 cm.  
Creator name
Hunnu 
Creator date
3rd C.BCE-1st C.BCE 
Where it was made
Noyon uul mountain, Tov aimag, Mongolia 
Geography
Mongolia 
Time period
BCE 3rd century ~ BCE 1st century 
Creation date
BCE; 3rd Century BCE- 1st Century BCE 
Function
Hunnu Empire Aristocrat’s tomb decoration. 
Acquisition
From an aristocrat’s tomb uncovered in Noyon Mountain Tov province in 1924 by the Russian archaeologists headed by P.K.Kozlov. Transferred to the National Museum. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
National Museum of Mongolia, Mongolia 
Museum
National Museum of Mongolia 
Credit line
 

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