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Buddhist and Mongolian symbols

The traveler arriving in Mongolia is quickly struck by the abundance of geometric symbols, some designs being found in the achitecture, on clothing, in yurts and everyday objects.

Symbols from Tibetan Buddhism

These symbols often have a strong religious significance, and are mostly from Tibetan Buddhism.

Buddhism distinguishes indeed eight "auspicious symbols" which are deemed to bring good luck.

In Mongolia, you will mostly see the knot, the lotus, the wheel, and the swastika, a symbol particularly popular throughout Asia and which has no negative connotation as it has in Europe since World War II.

The endless knot (ölzij - ulzii)

It symbolizes the infinite love and interdependence of all things.

The Earrings of the Queen (khatan-suikh)

Symbol of love and honesty.

The bracelet of Khan (Khan-buguivch)

Symbol of peace.

The Soyombo, flag symbol of Mongolia

The Soyombo is the name of a Mongolian script created by Zanabazar in 1686.

One of his characters became the symbol of the Mongolian nation and is on the national flag of Mongolia.

Different meanings are proposed for its components, some related directly to the Mongolian people, others more oriented to Buddhist spiritual path.

  • Fire is a general symbol representing eternal growth, wealth and success.
    The three flames symbolize the past, present, and future.
    They are also sometimes identified with Dharma, Sangha and Buddha, the "Three Jewels "of Buddhism.
  • The circle and the crescent just below symbolize the sun and moon.
  • The two triangles are arrowheads and spears. They point downward to announce the defeat of the internal and external enemies.
  • The two horizontal rectangles stabilize the center circle. The rectangular shape represents honesty and justice of the Mongols, they are at the top or bottom of society.
  • The two fish in the center of the symbol illustrate the duality and complementarity of man and woman.
    Both fish are one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism.
    In socialist times, they were also a symbol of vigilance, the fish never closing his eyes.
  • Finally, the two vertical rectangles can be interpreted as the walls of a fortress. They represent the unity and strength, in reference to a Mongolian proverb: "The friendship between two people is stronger than stone walls."

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