Horse, Camel & Light wooden cart of Mongol Ethnic Group
Beast of burden and wooden cart are the two major traditional means of communications and transport for Mongolian, while the former mainly relay on horse and camel and the latter on the light wooden cart.
Mongolia people learn how to ride horse when they are in their childhood, which goes like the old saying of Mongol that songs are our wins while horses are our partners. All the activities were accomplished by riding horses, such as putting out to pasture, houses remove and transferring pasture, passing information, going home to visit one’s family or call for friends, and even holding marriage. Horse really plays an important role in their production and daily life. Therefore, they form a tie of affection with horses and look horse as their valuable treasure. In their eyes, horse is a kind of holy animal. Many poems, proverbs or sayings that eulogized horse were passed down from the elder generations, as horse is always advocated and taken as an analogy of people by Mongolian. The names for different type of horses are also full of admiration and appreciation meanings, such as horse of chasing wind, flowing cloud horse, Bailong horse, Qinglong horse and winged steed, etc. some festivals came into appearance for their deep affection of horses, such as Kumiss festival, festival of cutting horse mane.
Having a gentle disposition and easy to be tamed, camel has the capability for resistant to cold or hot, hungry or thirsty. Besides, it is also good at trudging for a long distance and shouldering a heavy load. Moreover, a camel is able to offer four uses, to which other domestic animals are inferior, which are produce milk, meat, and fine hair and used as a beast of burden. A large amount of camels are in the western part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Called “Temo” in Mongolian, camel is an indispensable facility of transport to herdsman, for the reason that a camel can both be used as a mount as well as a carrier. A camel is able to trudge one or two hundred li in one day on account of its height is two or three meter and long legs, which can across more than one meter within only one step. It has a good capability of trudging for a long distance and carrying a heavy load, whose weight can reach to two kilograms and which is similar to a courser plus two bullocks. Therefore, from old time, a camel is called as “the ship of the desert” since it is the main force to carry load in desert. Even till nowadays, camel still has its special missions although modern traffic and conveyance tools, such as plane, train and car, were invented. In the desert area of the western of Inner Mongol like KubuQi, Maowu Su, teams of camels always trudge through with loads. Sounds of camel bells spread from the desert. Showing disdain for the ruthless desert, camels are human unswervingly loyal partners whenever prospecting team explore desert, or sand-controlling team afforest desert, or travelers travel across desert.
Light wooden cart, also called “winch cart”, “Luoluo cart” or ” Niuniu cart” in old days, is an ancient means of communications and transportation. Completely made of birch or elm rather than iron, the cart has a small body whereas its two wheels are huge, whose diameter always around 1.5 to 1.6 meter. Be prone to be made and repaired, the structure is very simple. The whole cart can be divided into two parts: the part above foot is composed of wheels, spoke and axletree. Wheels are made of hardwood that is chopped into twelve wheel rims. Connect and fix the twelve wheel rims to form a round wheel, which should be supported by thirty-six spokes. The other part is below the feet. It is make up of two shafts and ten props. The two shafts are about four meter long, which are fixed by ten props in the middle. A light wooden cart is able to carry five or six hundred kilograms cargo, whereas its own weight is only about fifty kilograms.
With a light body and being easy to drive, a light wooden cart is suitable to travel on grassland, snow land, swamps and sand. It can be used as a burden to carry rice, milk and transfer yurts and firewood and so on. As the carts can be connected by heads and tails to queue into a long line while traveling on the vast grassland like a train, a woman or a child is able to in charge of eight to ten carts, which take on the whole family’s transportation.
Except for the common light wooden cart, there are also some specially made carts for a special purpose in Mongolian area. For example, “saloon cart” which is enclosed by shed can take people to sit; “depot cart” can be used to store foodstuff or meat as it is installed a wooden cupboard; “water cart” is build with wooden groove, cowhide bag or metal pail as water containers.
Recent years, Mongolian people are no longer satisfied with these traditional means of communication and transportation any more, as their life has been improved much. Many of them purchased modern vehicles, such as motorcars, tractors and cars. Thus, both their production and life became more convenient, faster and richer and colorful.