Genghis Khan


The statue seems to have been designed to grace a facade, because the artist apparently wanted to affirm the representativeness of Genghis Khan’s image. The figure is seated on an elaborately modelled throne resting on a stepped pediment, so that the viewer is located at the sculpture’s foot. Genghis Khan is represented first of all as a great ruler raised to fame by fate, a potentate who has the whole world at his feet. However, his theatrical asymmetrical pose, the dramatic and menacing outward thrust of his body, his very loose costume and, most importantly, his hard and focused stare re-instate the familiar notion of Genghis Khan as the celebrated and dangerous warrior king. The statue leaves no doubt as to how he came to power: the plastic means employed by the sculptor are as bafflingly paradoxical as the main traits of Genghis Khan’s character. The style of the composition is a mix of the elements of monumental, non-decorative and decorative genres. It combines eloquence and genre appeal, elegance of the carvings and polyphony of the materials with a spareness of the silhouette, stateliness of rhythms and assertive power of the internal axes. The universal image of the ruler’s throne, rooted in the archetypes of the world mountain and the navel (axis) of the world, is infused with Asian stylistic elements. Eager to compress the image into a symbol, the sculptor deliberately avoided a documentary approach: according to legend, Genghis Khan’s main throne was a giant rock in the hills of Buryatia. Mighty, arabesque, spicy, unfamiliar and frightening, Asia stares at the viewer through Genghis Khan’s eyes. The energy of the image engages the spectator with a lasting, unfinished dialogism where the sculpture’s every element is like a thesis which can at any time generate an antithesis.

 

Brief annotations to the image

GENGHIS KHAN (1155 or 1162 — 25th August, 1227) (G.K.) was the abbreviated title of a Mongolian khan from the Borjigin clan. He united the nomadic Mongolian tribes into a single empire consisting of regiments of 1,000 and in fact created a feudal estate. He created a powerful army that conquered Turkestan, China, Bukhara, Khujand, Samarkand, Herat and other Islamic cities, Persia, the Caucasus, and the south of Russia. Unlike Timur, Genghis Khan was uneducated and uninterested in science and the arts.