A Mongolian Ger / Yurt is a uniquely built traditional dwelling. It has a rich history that goes back thousands of years and still being widely used all around Mongolia. Every structure of Mongolian Ger serves a different purpose to create a comfortable and practical home for people. As there are certain customs when it comes to constructing a Ger, there are also traditions when it comes to the different pieces of furniture in Mongolian Ger.
If you have been into a Mongolian Ger, you must have seen lots of Mongolian traditional furniture inside. Most types of furniture that have been used in ancient times are still used today. Therefore, each piece of furniture and its placement represents Mongolian extraordinary cultures and customs. The common colors for Ger’s furniture are orange, red, brown. They are considered warm colors to create a more comfortable and pleasant environment.
As mentioned in our article “What Is Inside a Mongolian Ger / Yurt?“, the inside of the Mongolian Ger is divided into four sections: khoimor, door, hostess’s side, and host’s side. Let’s get to know more about what type of furniture is placed in each different area.
The Khoimer or the northern side of the Ger is considered to be a sacred and respected area of the Ger. That is because this area is dedicated to placing the Gods and other religious items along with chests (avdar). Most people do their religious rituals (Buddhism) such as prayers, gift-giving, mantras in the Khoimor area.
The chest or avdar is where people keep their invaluable items as well as clothes and other things. They are usually orange or brown colored. There are two types of chests. One is for storing simple clothes, blankets, silk, fabrics, and so on. The other one is for storing valuable and precious items. The chest and other pieces of furniture are carved or drawn with meaningful, traditional patterns.
In every Ger, you will see the fire hearth or fire stove at the center. It is because the fire hearth is symbolled as a center of the universe by Mongolians. Fire is another sacred symbol in Mongolian culture. Therefore, there are several strict rules to follow around the fire stove. Besides the fire stove, you will see a box where woods, cow dung (argal), and coals are stored to be used as an ignition of the fire. The fire stove is where the hostess prepares meals and teas. It also acts as a source of heat during the cold winter of Mongolia.
Most of the time, the table and small stools are placed between the fire stove and the Khoimor area. This is where the family has meals together throughout the day. In addition, the host and hostess must invite their guests to the table for a meal and hot milk tea. The tables as well as the chairs could also feature beautiful patterns drawn and craved.
The Western and The Eastern side
The Western or right side of the Ger is considered as the Host’s side. Since the earliest times, the Host placed his items on the right side of the Ger including his bed. You will see saddle, bridle, hobble, skin bag for kumiss, shotgun along with his precious items like snuff bottle, knife, pelts, and so on. That is why there is a horse hitching post on the right side, outside of the Ger. On the contrary, the eastern or left side of the Ger is considered as the Hostess’s side. There are housewife’s milking parlor, kitchen counter, bed, chest drawer for sewing, accessories, and cosmetics.
You will also see a variety of different ornaments and decorations inside the Ger. There are pictures or words that are framed and hung up on the wall. Most people put beautiful photographs or drawings of nature. Moreover, most people hang some rugs with different patterns and colors on the wall along with placing them on the floor. Decorating the closets, chests, beds, tables, and even the bagana (one or more columns placed in the center to support the Ger’s crown area) with traditional patterns, drawings, and other ornaments is also popular. In addition, the door of the Ger is always decorated with patterns.
As mentioned above, men usually put up their saddle, bridle, hobble, and pelts on the western side as a decoration as well. In some Gers, there is a Morin Khuur (also known as the horsehead fiddle) which is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. It’s an important part of Mongolian culture and heritage. On special occasions, Mongolian people love inviting guests over to feast, tell tales, play Morin Khuur while singing.
Overall, you could see that every piece of furniture except for the wall is richly decorated in Ger. Every pattern and drawings on the furniture have their own name as well as meanings. That’s why Mongolian Ger is admired for its meticulously created beautiful structures and furniture. It carries Mongolian heritage, tradition, and culture within every section of itself. Therefore, a lot of people call the Ger and its parts work of art.
Since it has been used mainly by nomads from early times, the lifestyles of people living in Ger are closely connected to nature. In modern times, families spend their vacations in Ger to have bonding time together while relaxing in remarkably beautiful nature. Living close to one’s own culture, history, and tradition is as important as getting to know other countries’ distinctive features. For foreigners who are familiarizing themselves with Mongolian culture and tradition, staying at Ger is a must-do one. The cost of staying at Ger or purchasing one for yourself varies depending on their size, type, and other factors. But Ger is one of the most affordable types of housing you could find.
We have explained the most common types of furniture and decorations inside the Ger. Even though the main sections and furniture may be similar all around, the little details or furniture placements may differ for different households. After all, a person’s home always represents that person. Regardless, you will find the unique structures and elegantly decorated furniture in every ger in Mongolia.