Genghis Khan exhibit in Raleigh
After establishing the Mongol Empire in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, Genghis Khan died in 1227 and is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia.
Born Temujin around 1162, Genghis Khan is known as a ruthless warlord who conquered half of the world and established an empire that was four times the size of the Roman Empire, equal in size to the continent of Africa.
An exhibition of the largest collection ever assembled of the Empire of Genghis Khan is on display at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh through Jan. 16.
The exhibition is on loan from the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as well as private collections and contains more than 200 artifacts. Murals and videos were created for the exhibit to accompany the artifacts.
Genghis Khan’s life, land, people and culture are all a part of the museum’s exhibition. Highlights in the show include a collection of rare treasures such as jewelry, ornaments and musical instruments.
The Mongol Empire was one of the most diverse empires in history. Genghis Khan created passports to protect legitimate travelers in his empire and there was paper money, maps and handwritten manuscripts. He is credited with unifying the various powers along the Silk Road, which increased trade between the West, Middle East and Asia.
Models of siege weapons — a traction trebuchet (an early catapult) and an oversized triple crossbow — that were vital to the Mongol’s capture of walled cities will be on display. Other weapons in the show include battle axes, scimitars, lances and powerful bows.
Steel stirrups for their saddled horses and even silk underwear were instrumental parts of Mongolian war attire. Steel stirrups allowed warriors to stand in the saddle and deliver devastating blows to foot soldiers and rival cavalry. Silk undergarments were tough and lightweight, not easily torn under heavy armor or by arrows.
A recent addition to this exhibition is a mummified Mongolian princess from the time of Genghis Khan — along with her wood coffin, fine silk robes, pearl earrings and many other tomb treasures.
The mummy, on loan from the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Science, was discovered by Mongolian archaeologists in the Western Gobi Desert, naturally preserved by the arid conditions of a sheltered cave.
The location of Genghis Khan’s tomb is still one of modern archaeology’s most enduring mysteries.