Thanks to the animation film "Mulan," people around the world have become very familiar with the story of the archetypal female Kungfu warrior who fought against the nomads from Mongolia. Yet the motion picture omitted one crucial fact: the Chinese dynasty that Mulan served was actually forged by another nomadic tribe Xian Bei that came from the edge of Mongolia and North East China around A.D. 155. That dynasty became part of China as they abandoned the nomadic lifestyle and started practicing farming instead.
With China’s modern education ignoring the ancient nomadic settlements, the history between China and Mongolia pretty much becomes a Great Wall version of the American War of Independence. Yet what modern education is hiding from the public is the fact that long before the Mongols came to power, the northern settlers of China were already coming from Siberia and Mongolia. They became part of the ancient Chinese dynasties and histories simply due to the fact that the nomadic lifestyle no longer suited the farming landscapes, and thus it was eventually abandoned. Further, the lines between nomads and settlers were originally not as clear as how politicians delineate them today.
To revive the ancient nomadic memory of the Northern Chinese lands, Tengger Cavalry and a film crew traveled to an ancient battle ground that is a 7-hour drive north from Beijing to study the settlers' ancient past and the true identity of the Northerners of China.
During the filming of horse herding and fire rituals in subzero temperatures on the grassland, the film crew learned the importance of the nomadic lifestyle in order to stay warm and productive, and also how the climate effects the farming lifestyle. The sudden change of the landscape within 7 hours drive, which is less than two days’ horse riding, is shocking to the team.
“To do this, nomads dietary and supplements were heavily focused on fat, meat and milk with plenty of calories to last the unforgiving conditions,” says Mongolian cultural studier Erdene who lives in Ulaanbaatar and friend with the frontman of the band, “their livestock not only served as a source of food but they also processed the skins to make fur coats, shoes and even made felt from the wools harvested from sheep, camel and cows. Because the grassland or (tal kheer as it is called in Mongolian language) bears flat and wider landscape, wind during colder seasons were particularly challenging, hence why nomadic herders kept moving to generate heat, literally every step of the way. This must have been a very considerable transition, due to the fact that everything of nomad is based on ‘traveling’ and becoming a settler (or a farmer) must have been something of a significant change. It is almost like stepping back into the past too observe how modern-day nomads are still practicing the tried and true ways of herding and living in the wilderness compared to a more settled lifestyle that can be also be observed.”
The local landmarks’ names also suggest their ancient connection to nomadic histories once. They helped to revive memories of the past by living them out in the same way, and it shows in the striking new video for the song MY SKY.
“We hope through our music and our videos, the stories and history of the Nomads can be enjoyed and reflect the truer nature of things.” Nature says.