Situated in central Asia, Mongolia is a landlocked country surrounded by Russia and China which have both influenced their artwork and traditions. Tibetan Buddhism is the main religion of Mongolia, which has also largely inspired Mongolian artwork. Create colorful crafts with children in the style of traditional Mongolian artwork with basic materials and some creativity either at school or at home.
Print out images of a traditional Mongolian Ger, which is a round cone shaped tent similar to a Native American teepee and share with children. Nomadic shepherds have lived in and constructed Gers for years. Traditionally a Ger is made from animal hides and long sticks. Use chopsticks to create the base of the Ger and cover the outside with pieces of felt or fake fur. Place the Ger on a sturdy piece of cardboard and glue cotton balls which have been pulled apart on the floor of the Ger.
The Dark Old Man Mask
Mongolian shamanism used scary masks to scare away bad spirits. The Dark Old Man mask was the most common mask used in traditional shaman folklore in Mongolia. The Dark Old Man mask scares away bad spirits with its black hair and red eyes. Use a paper plate for the base of the mask and paint it with black with tempera paint. Glue string, glitter and cut out shapes from construction paper to finish the scary mask.
Statutes of the Buddha at different stages and ages of his life are found all over Mongolia. Look at pictures of the Buddha with children and discuss how the sculptures where made. The Buddha is often shown sitting comfortably with his hands resting underneath his belly. Some are carved out of stone and others cast in gold. Use bars of soap and butter knives to carve a small Buddha with children.
Beautifully painted and embroidered cloth is also traditional craftwork in Mongolia. Clothing is highly decorated and colorful with beads sewn in patterns and often use leather and silk. Look at examples of traditional Mongolian clothes with kids and enjoy how ornate they are. Draw pictures with children using colored pencils and markers and allow them to come up with their own Mongolian clothing designs.
Sarah Lipoff has been writing since 2008. She has been published through BabyZone, Parents, Funderstanding and Education.com. Lipoff has worked as a K-12 art teacher, museum educator and preschool teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science in K-12 art education from St. Cloud State University.