Genghis Khan back in Mongolia with Taiwan's help
Heritage | February 20, 2008 at 03:57 pmby
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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A huge portrait of Mongolia's great emperor Genghis Khan (1162-1227) composed of more than 430,000 crystal mosaic tiles will soon be inaugurated at Ulan Bator's international airport, thanks to the help of several Rotary Club members from Taipei.
The installation of the nearly-three story high Genghis Khan portrait -- made with 437,000 crystal mosaic tiles by German workers based on a portrait of Genghis Khan in [Taiwan's] National Palace Museum's collection -- is expected to be completed in April, said Chan Ming-chu, governor of Rotary International District 3480.
Genghis Khan is "the major source of pride" for Mongolia's people, he created the foundation for the largest empire in world history, which encompassed China, the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia at its peak under Genghis Khan's grandson Kublai Khan, who ruled from 1260 to 1294 and founded the Yuan Dynasty in China.
During the time Mongolia was closely aligned with the Soviet Union, the Russians through their proxies in Ulan Bator tried to smear the image of Genghis Khan by saying he and his army caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
After the fall of communism in Mongolia in 1990 and the adoption of new constitution in 1992, however, Genghis Khan was recognized again as the country's hero and founding father and has since been worshiped and commemorated on a regular basis. Even the name of the capital city's airport was changed to Genghis Khan International Airport three years ago.
To many historians, Genghis Khan remains a puzzle because few artifacts related to him specifically have been left behind. As a consequence, Mongolians consider the portrait of Genghis Khan in Taipei's National Palace Museum to be one of the most precious treasures connecting them to their founding father.
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