The Mongols of Ordos in 1908

 

The Mongol of Ordos in the first years of 20th century (according to Count de Lesdain, 1908) (1) p. 25-26

The Mongols are, as is well known, divided into two great political parties. One ranges itself under the ancient banners, the other obeys chiefs who bear the pompous titles of kings, and all claim to be descended from the companions, or even the family, of Jenghis Khan. The Mongols of the banners inhabit the huge steppes which stretch even further than Kalgan to the east, up to Urga in the north, and as far as Tumet on the west.

The country of the Ordos is governed by a confederation of kinglets, five in number, who live on good enough terms with each other. The oldest, not he who has reigned the longest, is Chief of the confederation, and treats directly with the representative of the Pekin Government who lives at Kwei - hua - cheng, or in the Mongol tongue, Ku - ku - Hoto. The title of this high officer, generally a Manchu, is that of Tartar Marshal. He has power enough to enable him to exercise a good deal of injustice, thanks to which he fills his coffers in preference to those of the State. Under the Kings, but with more real power, some important lamas (ta lama) govern the people by working upon their grossly superstitious minds, and are here, as in Tibet, the true masters of the situation.

(1) Count de Lesdain.- From Pekín to Sikkin throught the Ordos, the Gobi Desert and Tibet. John Murray, London. 1908

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