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Horsemen in a Sea of Grass


  Text by Felicia JonesPhotographs by Nie Quansheng

  In the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, aphenomenon that isn’t seen anywhere else canbe found – a place where the smell of horsesand grass fields, paired with clear skies andopen fields, hearkens to the wild plains of the NativeAmerican Indians. Nature and humans still connectand talk to one another. It is a place where the Mongolianhorsemen still ride their small but majestic horsesacross the grasslands of northern China.

  Mongolian people in modern China still lead livessimilar to their ancient ancestors. They have preservedtheir lifestyle for thousands of years, working and livingamong the horses they raise. They have found away to balance the modern world with the traditionof their past.

  History of Mongolian Nomads

  Mongolian horsemen have a long, legendary history.They are nomadic people who have been traversinggrasslands for thousands of years. Eventually theysaw how the settled people developed and realizedthat their lives were different. They began desiring thegoods from settled cultures and decided to band theirtribes together to raid these cultures. They became sucha great bother that the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221-206B.C.) had the Great Wall built to keep them out.

  Bold raids continued despite the defense. Eventuallyin 89 A.D. they were defeated. Instead of givingup, they continued moving westward and began raidingWestern cultures, such as the Romans and Greeks.

  They played a role in Western history as raiders re-sponsible for helping bring down the Roman Empire.This enduring culture continued to grow. In 1206,they were united by a leader named Temujin or GenghisKhan (1162-1227). They attacked inland China againand started the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), which lasteda hundred years before being overthrown in 1368.

  This nomadic culture, driven by many clans onseemingly insignificant horses, have created an epichistory for themselves, which can still be seen in thepeople today.

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