Mongolian Culture

Archery in Mongolia

Archery in Mongolia


In the history of humankind, people has considered archery as a sport since the Stone Age. Therefore, it is at least 2,000 years old since ancient people use a makeshift bow for hunting

The oldest archery game in Mongolia is a ball game – dating back to the 3rd century Hunnu and Khitan times. Archers had to shoot their targets from 20 meter away with a short wooden arrow in the middle of horse gallop. There were several vertical poles at a distance of 10 meters from each other. And they hung three balls on the top of each as targets. In fact, eventhough this game was played in 1900s and the rules were high, there were many archers who did not miss a target.

In the late 19th century, archery, one of the three men’s game of Naadam festival, was revived. During the festival, participants compete in three categories: Uriankhai, Buriat and Khalkh. To clarify, the majority group of Mongolia is Khalkh, and Uriankhai & Buriat are 2 out of over 20 minority groups of Mongolia. In these categories, participants use different types of bows and arrows, besides the distance of the target.

In Uriankhai and Buriat archery, only men had participated before. But women have involved in Buriat archery in recent years. Participants in Uriankhai archery shoot from a distance of 30-40 meters, while they shoot from a distance of 30-45 meters in Buryat. Khalkh style is the common national archery style. This national title-winning archery has the furthest shooting distance and the referees standardize participants by their age and gender.

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