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The Central Asiatic Expeditions : Mongols

Identifier: Film Collection no. 149

Scope and Contents

China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. The first sequence concentrates on daily life in a Mongol camp near Tsagan Nor (or White Lake). The camp is a complex of Mongolian tents (yurts) with men, sheep, and dogs milling about; yaks pull heavy logs; and a camel is being trained. The film moves to Urga (now Ulan Bator) where Khalka women with elaborate headresses are seen; a Mongol affected with gigantism enters the city and is photographed with Roy Chapman Andrews. The film then shifts back to the activities in the camp: sheep are watered; a yak is packed; and Mongolian ponies are rounded-up, broken and branded; there is a camel race; yaks are milked; and men gather round a cart to feast on roast mutton. The film again shifts to Urga: yak carts travel through the streets; a smithy is seen; a runaway pony is harnessed; everywhere are children and Khalka women in their headdresses and embroidered robes; and a market is seen. (This segment is badly deteriorated.) The next sequence is devoted to the Maidari festival celebrating the coming of Buddha. A gilded image of Buddha is drawn through the streets of Urga; accompanying the Buddha is a procession of lamas carrying ornate umbrellas and large drums. Next is shown the step-by-step construction of a yurt, from the shearing of sheep and the manufacture of felt, to the actual construction of the yurt and the covering of it with felt. This is followed by footage of Mongols collecting salt in the flats at the base of Mount Uskuk in the Altai Mountains. The final sequence is a demonstration of the Mongol technique for hunting antelope with a flintlock rifle.


  • 1922-1925


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (29 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (29 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. print; incomplete.


English subtitles.


James Barnes Shackelford, photographer.

The Central Asiatic Expeditions : Mongols, 1922-1925
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
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