The Ger is the traditional dwelling of Mongolia’s nomadic people and where most of their rituals and traditions take place. It is a traditional enterprise involving the labor of a household or group, with men carving the wood and both women and men engaged in painting, sewing and stitching, and felt-making. The Ger is a round structure of walls, poles and a peaked roof covered with canvas and felt, and tightened with ropes. Made of a wooden frame painted and decorated with traditional ornamentation, canvas and ropes of animal hair, the Ger is light and portable, flexible enough to fold and pack, stable, sturdy enough to be dismantled and reassembled comfortable, secure, resilient during earthquakes and weatherproof. The inside is furnished with light, portable furniture, flooring and carpets of hand-sewn felt and a centrally placed stove. Many traditional craftspeople comprising of carpenters, painters, and makers of felt, rope, belts, canvas, and curtains, produce pieces that complete the Ger. Traditional craftsmanship is taught to the younger generations, principally through mentoring by a senior crafts person. The young artisans are trained through home-based apprenticeships provided by experienced elders. Cutting and preparing sheep’s wool, making felt, stitching canvas and preparing woodwork are usually communal endeavors. Thus, as a traditional dwelling, the Mongol Ger plays an important social and cultural role for nomadic families and its makers are highly respected.
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