During a yak cart trek in Mongolia
Yak Cart Trek Mongolia
July 7, 2019
One of the 'eternal' landscapes of Mongolia - gers in the central Khangai Mountains.
The Mongolian Ger
August 25, 2019
Batmonk - a master bow and arrow maker standing in his workshp, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Mongolia Archery Workshop

Meet Tomorkhuu Bat­munkh who hosts our Mongolia archery workshop and who we work in long-term local community partnership with. Bat­monkh is a specialist bow and arrow maker in Ulaanbaatar. Batmonkh’s home is also his workshop and every surface of his home is dedicated to his skill. As soon as you enter his 3-room apartment in the Bayangol district, his love for and dedication to his profession is evident.

Batmonk - a master bow and arrow maker standing in his workshop in Ulaanbaatar during one of our Mongolia day trips.

From outside Batmonkh’s apartment, you would just think it is yet another piece of brutal Soviet-inspired architecture in need of some TLC. It is. But, inside Batmonkh’s apartment is a different story. It is remarkable what you can fit into a three-room apartment. with sinews, glue, ar­rows, bird feathers, arrowheads, ready­made bows, tools, and implements ev­erywhere.

Mongolian bows and arrows

Mongolian archery Ulaanbaatar

An EL group during one of our recent visits to Batmonk.

Historically in Mongolia, bows were primarily used for hunting animals for food and protecting the tribe from outside enemies. The composite bow and arrow also accompanied the Mongol Army as they conquered what became the largest contiguous land empire on earth. Over the centuries, the tradition of Mongolian archery has been passed down and it remains one of the Three Manly Sports of Mongolia’s Naadam Festival.

 The Mongolian composite bow remains a formidable tool. And those that have experienced the archery competition at the National Naadam in UB will tell you that is has explosive acceleration and velocity.

It takes around one year to make a bow. Birch wood is typically used as it is resilient (and in plentiful supply in Mongolia). It is cut, glued and shaped into a bow and kept to dry. Most available surfaces of Batmonkh’s apartment are used for drying the bows and each one of them had dates of when they were put up to dry. 

Also filling the apartment are the other component parts required for making the bows (and any arrow sets). There is also the fish glue, birch bark (to protect against moisture), horn or bone (Ibex is good – used on the ‘belly’ of the bow), sinew (stretched on the outside of the bow) and feathers and arrowheads. As I said, as soon as you enter his 3-room apartment in the Bayangol District, his love for this profession is evident.  

As a visitor, not only do you get to see Batmonkh’s craftsmanship, you’ll also get an informal history lesson as he tells you about the development of the bow and arrow in Mongolia. So enthusiastic is he about his profession that it has become a family affair – with all family members involved and his son following in his footsteps.

 Batmonkh was formerly a  professor of geography but he was a competitive archer so for him it was a natural progression to construct them. He still competes and as you spend time at his apartment, archers pass through – coming to talk about the purchase of a new bow or just coming to have a chat in general. Like I said, from outside Batmonkh’s apartment, you would just think it yet another piece of brutal Soviet-inspired architecture in need of some TLC. It is. But, inside Batmonkh’s apartment is a different story.

This Facebook video (opens in new window) by UNESCO introduces you to Batmonkh as well as other Mongolian archers and highlights how bows and arrows are made.

 

Batmonkh - a master bow and arrow maker- during one of our Mongolia day trips

All of our Mongolia one-day tours are private, flexible, and fluid and designed to get you just that little bit closer to daily life and give you a more local aspect. If you’re interested in meeting Batmonkh as part of your Mongolia experience, just let us know. You can find more information here – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/archery-training-and-workshop-mongolia-one-day-tour/. We can also offer a horseback archery experience as well and you can find out more here – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/mongolian-horseback-archery/.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia. http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/
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