Sunday, April 15, 2012

NEWS: Genghis Khan sculpture unveiled London

Originally posted on BBC:News - London April, 14, 2012

The 16ft tall bronze statue
will be at Marble Arch
until September
A bronze sculpture of Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan has been unveiled at Marble Arch in central London.

The 16ft tall (5m) statue captures the legendary leader wearing Mongolian armour on his steed.

The sculpture by artist Dashi Namdakov will stand next to Cumberland Gate until early September.

The artist, who had an interest in the nomadic tribes of Mongolia, wanted to honour the warrior on the 850th anniversary of his birth.

He said: "If I wanted to show him as a warrior I would have shown him as a warrior, but he is a thinker in this case. He is a divine figure in my country."

Namdakov was born in a Siberian village and brought up in the Buryat Buddhist culture.

'Essence of nomadism'

His village was close to the area which was historically controlled by nomadic Mongol tribes and which led to his interest in Buryat and Mongol cultures.

Westminster Council selected the statue as part of its ongoing City of Sculpture festival, which was launched in 2010.

The festival aims to install works of art across the borough in the run-up to the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the capital.

Halcyon Gallery said the sculpture was specially commissioned for Marble Arch.

The artwork captures the intricate details of the medieval Mongolian armour and dress, including the golden plaques on the livery and the plaited hair.

The decision to depict the warrior on his horse embodies "the very essence of nomadism and brings the culture of the ancient Mongols directly to the public", the gallery said.

The sculpture's unveiling comes ahead of an exhibition by the artist in the gallery in Mayfair next month.

Word list:
  • to unveil: to remove the cover from something such as a statue as part of an official ceremony
  • to capture: to express what someone or something is really like in a way that people can clearly recognize
  • divine: god-like
  • to launch: to start a major activity
  • intricate: very detailed in design or structure
  • livery: a special old-fashioned type of uniform
  • plaited: to braid hair, rope, wool, etc.
  • to depict: to describe someone or something using words or pictures
  • to embody: to be the best possible example of a particular idea, quality, or principle, especially a good one