Mongolian calligraphy


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Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© 2011 by "AC" Calligraphy center, "Great Hunnu" Pictures

Mongolian calligraphy is the technique of handwriting in the Classical Mongolian script, which comprises ninety letters connected vertically by continuous strokes to create words. The letters are formed from six main strokes, known as head, tooth, stem, stomach, bow and tail, respectively. This meticulous writing is used for official letters, invitations, diplomatic correspondence and love letters; for a form of shorthand known as synchronic writing; and for emblems, logos, coins and stamps in ‘folded’ forms. Traditionally, mentors select the best students and train them to be calligraphers over a period of five to eight years. Students and teachers bond for life and continue to stimulate each other’s artistic endeavours. The rate of social transformation, urbanization and globalization have led to a significant drop in the number of young calligraphers. At present, only three middle-aged scholars voluntarily train the small community of just over twenty young calligraphers. Moreover, increases in the cost of living mean that mentors can no longer afford to teach the younger generation without remuneration. Special measures are therefore needed to attract young people to the traditional art of writing and to safeguard and revitalize the tradition of Mongolian script and calligraphy.

Periodic reporting

Name of State Party



Name of element

Mongolian calligraphy

Inscribed in


2014 - 2017

Coaxing ritual for camel calves (2011)
Coaxing ritual for camels (2015)
Folk long song performance technique of Limbe performances - circular breathing (2011)
Mongol Biyelgee, Mongolian traditional folk dance (2009)
Mongol Tuuli, Mongolian epic (2009)
Mongolian calligraphy (2011)
Mongolian Traditional Cham Dance (-)
Mongolian traditional Cham dance (2011)
Mongolian traditional practices of the worshipping of sacred sites (2011)
Mongolian traditional practices of worshipping the sacred sites (2017)
Performance of the Mongolian epic of Jangar (2011)
The art of steel carving (backlog)
Traditional music of the Tsuur (2009)

By inscribing Mongolian calligraphy on the Urgent Safeguarding List the urge to learn and study Mongolian national script among the youth has increased, the Government’s implementation of testing under the Language Law of 2015 is benefitting the children. Children are studying rigorously to learn various types of scripts on a national level. During the course of the report the following have been achieved:
- The Presidential Decree No.105 of 2003 on “Celebration of national day of Mongolian script”, Decree No.155 of 2010 on “Actions on increasing the use of Mongolian script in official settings” have been in effect.
- The Government of Mongolia passed Resolution No. 196 2nd National Program “Mongolian Script”, which was implemented throughout 2008-2015.
- Under the “Mongolian Language Law” passed by the Parliament, Government’s Resolution No.37 of 2013 general education graduates, those enrolling universities and colleges are required to take Mongolian language written test, the results of the test serving as admissions requirement.
- “Diligent writing” national competition has been held annually.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)


Family name


Given name



Division of Intangible Cultural Heritage Center for Cultural Heritage


Central Palace of Culture B
Sukhbaatar square 3
Ulaanbaatar 210620a
1st khooro
Ulaanbaatar 210648

Telephone number

+976 99099842; +976 99030405

E-mail address

Other relevant information

During the course of the report province, city, rural schools held formal and informal trainings, juried exhibitions, there has been an increase in the number of learners, improvements in the quality and proficiency of artists as well as entry into the social consumption, appearing on markets and store shelves and calligraphy services are being provided. Involvement from provincial and local authorities and administrative bodies in activities to revive, cultivate and pass down traditions of calligraphy has increased and entities such as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, National Center for Cultural Heritage, Mongolian National Library, “AC” calligraphy center, Mongolian Contemporary Calligraphy Association, Humuun Bichig newspaper, Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, Mongolian Writers Union, Ulaanbaatar Public Library, Humanities division of NUM School of Sciences, National Language Policy Council, Mongolian National History Museum are taking part in the National script celebration. Introducing and popularizing calligraphy artists raise public’s valuation of them, and interests to study calligraphy and creative enthusiasm is resurging among the youth. The use of calligraphy in the everyday life of Ulaanbaatar city such as getting their names written, product labels and logo, television programs, exhibition has been significant and has had a positive influence on the masses. Universities are carrying out researches on calligraphy.
Although a short period of time, over the last four years public’s understanding of Mongolian calligraphy reached timely results and recognition and could be assessed as having begun serving its role, significance and use among the masses.

As Mongolia shifted into a democratic society people’s mindset revitalized and in conjunction it was a delightful and historical event that Mongolian calligraphy was inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List. At this time of social change various eastern and western languages, cultural influences were brought in, travelling and studying in foreign countries had increased, children were taught foreign languages and schools were established, and even though teachings of Mongol calligraphy and competitions have not been funded, the nation’s conscience was influenced thus involving their children has been the basis for its existence. It is praiseworthy that the youth participate in the calligraphy competition held annually since 2014. National educational organizations began teaching Mongolian script and testing those above 8th grade thus having a significant impact on preparing the young generation. Because general education provides valuable influence on obtaining knowledge of calligraphy in the future informal educational organizations are fulfilling their roles by organizing various competitions and tournaments, participating in calligraphy competitions across Asian and European thus exposing our cultural heritage internationally. The age range of those interested in inheriting is from 11 to 70 years old, learning and practicing formally and informally, voluntarily. This is a strong indicator that the element will be inherited steadily and certainly. In this time of social change it is lack of economic and financial support that is having large impact, otherwise the public and the youth’s eagerness to learn and competence has steadily improved over the past four years.
It is undeniably dissatisfactory work by cultural heritage organizations, universities and institutes, and government organizations not having clear policies on culture had an effect on society of slowing down the eagerness and enthusiasm coming from below.
In reality policy on development and budgeting of arts and cultural sector is still lacking today. Talented calligraphers have been promoting Mongolian national arts, aesthetics, culture and education over the last 20 years, serving the public with their work and exhibitions, actively advising, helping students and enthusiasts. To develop Mongolian calligraphy policy based contributions, human resource preparations as well as economic and financial support from professional organizations, universities, and language institutes would make swift improvements. Generally over the last 4 years cultured and educated students, artists, language specialists and graphic designers have been educating themselves on small budgets based on their interests and intellect. With the inadequate human resources the studies are especially focusing on students, enthusiasts and young people. Efforts among colleagues have increased by 30% compared to 4 years ago. Most young people are interested and eager to learn. Children and young people keen on researching, learning and passing down Mongolian cultural heritage, thus promoting contemporary brush calligraphy locally and internationally with the aim of developing it into art, organize exhibitions each year. Important objectives are national level competitions, preparing professional and skilled human resources at universities. In order to preserve and safeguard intangible cultural heritage lecture competitions on historical and cultural research should be announced, because there is a rising need to bring in, instruct and to collaborate with professional organizations based on policies, we are facing new objectives to reflect such actions in government policies. Although a short period of time over the last 4 years understanding of Mongolian calligraphy has reached timely results, recognition among the masses and started catering to societal demands, only economic and human resources is stalling and there is an inadequacy of faculty. Activities to promote and familiarize the public with Mongolian calligraphy meets the requirements but fails to meet the end results of the objectives. Although exhibitions and competitions are being held annually, the inability to prepare a young workforce could slow down the energy, inception of activities and become an encumbrance so it suggested that trainings and preparations of workforce take place immediately. The training and research should be based on scientifically formed teaching methodologies. Accurate policy on intangible cultural heritage, Mongolian calligraphy and enforcement of the law on culture is establishing a positive notion, thus promoting the importance of learning, researching, taking pride and spreading it through art and artwork. However, not keeping it amongst the few in the arts and cultural sector but rather actions to attract the public as well as foreign nationals is important. Within the Government policy there has been no policy to improve or a resolution reached, and concrete guidance and instructions that reaches young people is still lacking. When discussing preservation and safeguarding it is insufficient to mainly focus on interests and efforts of those who have done research on cultural heritage for years, cultural inheritors, small number of people who have become national pride and young people working in teams. In the years of social change, community involvement has been observed through everyday use and through exhibitions. It only encompassed the thinking calligraphy is something great and worth knowing.Students have expressed their interests and whole classrooms are subscribing to Mongolian script newspapers, reviving confidence amongst the public. In the future, to preserve intangible cultural heritage those passing down the culture will improve on the creativity and on exhibitions, artworks, research publications and interviews for the public. If governmental and cultural organizations that support, within the framework of the government, national conscience and written culture devise and submit their policy, decisions and resolutions in accordance with the guidelines then collaborations will ensue and contribution will instantly improve. Having the goal of spreading Mongolian calligraphy among the youth, to reach certain results, by providing foundational knowledge about the art through television, media and introducing and instilling sense of pride in young people nurtures them with pride and is reaching end results through systematic flow of information. Effort of non-governmental organizations and independent artists are developing, dispersing the heritage and familiarizing the public with it. To improve further there are possibilities to prepare a professional workforce, print books and publications and exchange experiences with similar cultural organizations from abroad on publication materials and creative learning from artists.
Focus on actions to prepare a professional workforce by universities. For example in the years 2013-2017 from the National University of Mongolia 102 students graduated with a degree in Mongolian language, study of traditional script and teaching, and this is a small number.

• Research the history of Mongolian calligraphy, promote to the public and disperse understanding about the art.
• Organize traditional apprenticeship, in-class learning and lectures for the next generation of calligraphy.
• Provide support and celebrate the inheritors.
• Increase the public’s knowledge and information about calligraphy and set an objective to collaborate with them.
• Research is carried out and presented on historic traditions, heritage and language treasure database of Mongolian calligraphy.
• By broadening formal and informal education of Mongolian calligraphy the number calligraphers and interests from students is increasing.
• There is now a calligraphic traditions database, general list of calligraphers and catalogue.
• As Mongolian calligraphy is revived so did artworks in soyombo script and a research book was published.
• There are more and more voluntary, community and governmental organizations supporting calligraphy exhibitions.
• By familiarizing the artists that are dispersing traditional art, the increase in the number of learners-imitators could be be viewed as ridding from the dangers of disappearance and revival of cultural heritage that contributes to society.
During the course of the report annual competitions have become consistent and desire to learn among the youth has improved.

The Presidential Decree No.105 of 2003 on “Celebration of Mongolian script”, Decree No.155 of 2010 on “Actions on increasing the use of Mongolian script in official settings” have been in effect. The Government of Mongolia passed Resolution No. 196 “Mongolian Script” National Program II and was implemented throughout 2008-2015. Under the “Mongolian Language Law” passed by the Parliament, Government’s Resolution No.37 of 2013 general education graduates, those enrolling universities and colleges are required to take Mongolian language written test, the results of the test serving as admissions requirement.
Also during the course of the project the following protective measures have been taken:
• Within the framework of implementation of the Mongolian Language Law, Presidential Decree No. 105 and 155, the National Language Policy Council in accordance with the Metropolitan Education Department have taught Mongolian calligraphy at 117 primary and secondary schools to around 16000 students.
• National Language Policy Council in cooperation with Linguistics Institute of Mongolian Academy of Science, Mongolian National University of Education, Humuun Bichig newspaper, Provincial Governor’s Office, local language policy sector councils carried out promotion of Mongolian language law, implementation of the use of Mongolian Script in cyberspaces, and Mongolian calligraphy trainings for around 2000 teachers, students, government personnel and citizens in Sukhbaatar, Dundgovi, Tuv, Arkhangai, Orkhon provinces.
• Transmission of Mongolian script and calligraphy lessons through networks such as Mongolian National Broadcast “Uv erdene” TV program, Education TV and Enlightenment TV is enlightening the public.
• Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, Center for Cultural Heritage and Enlightenment TV jointly decorated the Naadam festival stadium with UNESCO enlisted Mongolian calligraphy, as a demonstration for both domestic and foreign tourists. By demonstrating the multifaceted nature of Mongolian calligraphy the number of those interested in calligraphy is rapidly increasing, entering everyday use and city decor.
• “Diligent writing” the annual Mongolian calligraphy competition was successfully organized in accordance with Mongolian Children’s Palace with 264 artworks submitted from 30 schools in 2013, 230 artworks from 25 schools in 2014, 250 artworks from 25 schools in 2015 and 300 artworks from 30 schools in 2016, awarding middle and high school students and from the selected works every year in late October an exhibition is held for their friends and family.
• National news agency Montsame publishes Humuun bichig newspaper in Mongolian script every week. Since 1997 the Agency has organized beautiful writing competition annually on a national level. In 2017, 700 calligraphers competed in 7 categories. Government officials present the awards. From 10 year old 4th grade student E.Temuulen of School No.60 to 90 year old calligrapher S.Jigmedsuren participated in the tournament. The purpose of the tournament is to boost the enthusiasm to learn traditional script, proclaim those who have mastered and encourage the young generation.
• 2014.05.13 “Mungun Mod” joint calligraphy exhibition by N.Bat-Erdene, B.Hishigsuren, B.Tsolmonbayar, O.Nyam-Ochir, O.Huderchuluun, N.Amartuvshin, L.Lutsukh, B.Byambatsogt, D.Erdenenchuluun was held successfully and advertised through television and media.
• 2015.12.28 Batbayar Jalair’s book “History of Mongolian Calligraphy” volumes 1,2 launched at the hall named after the Director of Mongolian National Library.
• 2015.12.28 for the world heritage digital archive “Heritage Image Archives” UNESCO and Japanese television NHK’s short series “World heritage-100” “Mongolian calligraphy” film was created and presented to the public in 2015.
• 2016.01.08 16th China Grassland culture forum was organized in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region among 50 international scholars and a lecture was delivered on the topic of “Mongolian calligraphy.”
• 2016.07.11 Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports in cooperation with the Center for Cultural Heritage, with the aim of acquainting Mongolian calligraphy, organized a one day public event at the Sukhbaatar square and promoted through television and various media sources.
• Under the Presidential Decree No.105 of 2003 on Celebration of Mongolian script the first Sunday in May was declared the day of National Written Culture.
• Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, Department of Culture and Art an Implementing Agency of the Government, Mongolian National Library, National Language Policy Council, Mongolian Children’s Creative Center, Mongolian Writers Union, universities and cultural organizations jointly organized on May 8th.

The focus was on the activities and works of Batbayar Jalair and the community of his students, those developing and passing down the traditions within the extent of researchers of Mongolian script, researcher-calligraphers and enthusiasts. Artist Batbayar Jalaiir, Contemporary calligraphy association, B.Mend-Oyo, D.Battumur, T.Jamyansuren, scholar R.Otgonbaatar, D.Tserenpil, Ts.Oidov, L.Dashzeveg as well as students B.Hishigsuren, N.Bat-Erdene, O.Nyam-Ochir, B.Altantuya and enthusiasts alike are inheriting, taking actions towards the development of Mongolian calligraphy as their purpose, and are contributing their time, effort and artworks. Calligraphy artists voluntarily founded the Center of Written Culture and provide lessons there.

The 2014 Cultural Heritage Protection Law passed by the Parliament, under section 41 on financing of cultural heritage can financed with fund provided, donations, aid from government budget, local budget, Mongolian and foreign citizen, international organization, legal bodies and other sources, section 13 clause 13.1.13 states “enlisting cultural heritage in the UNESCO's List and actions on protection, passing down, dispersion of cultural heritage enlisted on the UNESCO's List should be reflected in the government budget each year.” Section 15 of the Law “Rights of province, city, sum, district Representatives Council” clause 15.1.1 states “ensure law on protection of cultural heritage is being adhered to, programs and plans are being developed to implement, to allocate the necessary budget and verify”, Section 16 “Rights of Province, city Governor” clause 16.1.12 states “identify those who pass down intangible cultural heritage, introduce to the public, provide support, establish actions to ensure inheritance” thus allowing local budgets to be spent on safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
Based on the clauses above, during the course of the report the Government of Mongolia provided around 100 million tugriks in financing.
According to the Cultural Heritage Protection Law Section 15 provincial Governor’s offices, branch committees of local language council, within the scope of National script mid level program, from 2013-2017 have taken substantial actions to preserve and protect Mongolian calligraphy on their local territories and provided funding.

Even though ancient traditions of Mongolian calligraphy is not receiving full policy support in the current time of globalization, with the support of calligraphers, artists, non-government organizations and the youth, by learning from traditional heritage and the experience of ancient artists, dispersing domestically as well as abroad through exhibitions, promotions, sales, and shows that Mongolian culture unlike previously is being slowly restored. Since 1990 Mongolians largely received european education learning English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese languages but Mongolian written culture and calligraphy is also reaching other nations such as USA, Japan, France especially it was an incredible event that in 2015 Japanese NHK television included Mongolian calligraphy in the “World Heritage-100” series. Books, publications, television programmes, news broadcasts of culture and arts on Mongolian calligraphy have been regularly transmitted through mass media over the last 4 years.Because Mongolian calligraphy is included in the “Traditional handicraft” branch of cultural heritage it has been passed down from ancient times, and still calligraphy in books and manuscripts, carvings in gold, silver, copper, stone, bone and wood are prevalent and included in contemporary artworks and exhibitions.
Generations of elderly and young artists inheriting the heritage of Mongolian calligraphy generally have learned individually from their grandparents and parents and are teaching and instructing their own students.A characteristic of calligraphy is that the mastery of the teacher is evident in the works of their students.With the help of calligraphy not only Mongolian script but also Soyombo alphabet is being revived. All of this could be viewed as Mongolians connecting traditional calligraphy with other cultural heritages, instilling cultural and linguistic immunity in everyone, and their utmost responsibility held before their language and culture. Mongolian calligraphy is enlivening the change in history of development of traditional script into the current time and is considered a proud matter to be demonstrating vertical script in the cultural heritage of humanity.
When Mongolian calligraphy heritage was facing the danger of disappearance there was a change in society and nation’s mindset and inscribing UNESCO's Urgent Safeguarding List has been the most effective action taken for protection and is evident that the young generation, citizens began to attend to the matter with awareness. Another result of protective actions that is praiseworthy is that there are instances of foreign cultural organizations interested in inviting and researching. At this time while we understand how important it is to disperse national cultural heritage, actions are being taken during hard conditions to reach wanted developments. However, learnings and the improved changes in the awareness of the youth is encouraging us. The mid-aged and the elders have partial tendencies, because social life is affecting them they are not spending much of their time.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports has developed the "National Comprehensive Program on Protection of Cultural Heritage 2018-2025" to further safeguard the Mongolian Calligraphy. The program aims to invest in some of the key areas of intangible cultural heritage field, to conduct researches, to organize trainings, to implement projects and to provide a sustainable livelihood. These include:
- Organize the studies on ICH and heritage bearers withal the local history, culture, traditions and conditions.
- Improve the database of registration of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and develop informational activities in accordance with modern technology and make it public.
- Conducting formal and informal apprentice trainings on the ICH
- Create a theoretical and practical training base of the ICH (bearers, cultural specialists and other relevant sectors)
- Support the bearers of the ICH and improve their social values
- Improve the legal environment to include and develop the ICH in the context of the creative industry.
- Training, re-training and specialization of the ICH's experts.
As part of this Comprehensive National Program the priority will be to further improve the economic and legal environment for the provision of incentive systems, life insurance, social security, well-being for heritage bearers.
The National Program will reflect the initiatives of non-governmental organizations, individuals, communities, groups and academics.
In the budget of the National Program, the Government of Mongolia has allocated a total of 500 million MNT. It is also necessary to obtain assistance from local, international organizations and national producers to implement projects and programs.

Cultural Heritage Protection Law, Section 34 “Rights and duties of intangible cultural heritage inheritors” has been established for the first time, 34.1.1 states “right to receive financial assistance in the need of urgent safeguarding, inheriting, restoration and passing down intangible cultural heritage,”and “intangible cultural heritage inheritor holds the duty of passing down the intangible heritage, instructing apprentices, promoting intangible cultural heritage, disperse knowledge, keep registry of intangible cultural heritage, provide support for information gathering.”
Organizations with the aim of reviving, developing and inheriting Mongolian calligraphy such as the Mongolian Calligraphy Association, Humuun bichig newspaper are carrying out activities that are significantly contributing to the society. They have previously collaborated on various operations.Ever since their founding “AC” calligraphy center has held calligraphy exhibitions since 1991 until today, conceiving independent artists and students. The center is conducting research and broadening the spectrum of artworks. Exhibitions of selected works have been shown 19 times and they regularly organize joint calligraphy exhibitions such as “Shine tsas”, “Munkh tengerin bichig.”

a. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
National Center for Cultural Heritage, Director G.Enkhbat
PO: 3 Sukhbaatar square, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar 210620a, Mongolia
Tel: 976-11-312735,976-11-70110877
FAX: 976-11-312735
Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding Department Director A.Saruul
Tel: 976-99030405
b. organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding
“AC” Calligraphy Center, Head D.Batbayar
PO: PO box 2476, Ulaanbaatar 15160, Mongolia
Tel: 976-99098237

Following the 2017 Order No.A/192 by the Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports on forming a processing committee for “Report on implementation of UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Government of Mongolia” and “Report on Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding”, a working committee was formed.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, Cultural Heritage Center, Mr. Baybayar Jalair and community of his students, researchers of Mongolian script, calligraphers, enthusiasts, Contemporary Calligraphy association, Center for Written Culture, “AC” calligraphy center as well as calligraphy artists and inheritors have contributed to preparing this report.




Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports