The wooden printing blocks of ‘Merged Garakhiin Oron’ (Towards Attaining Wisdom) have been listed by UNESCO as Memory of the World.
This Tibetan-Mongolian lexicon xylograph was assigned by the Mongolian Institute of Chronicles and Documents (today’s Academy of Sciences), and carved in 1924 at the Agiin Datsan, the Buddhist Monastery of Aga, in Buryatia.
Seven printed copies are preserved at the Museum of Rare & Precious Books of the Mongolian National Library in Ulaanbaatar, and other copies are held in the Tibetan Book Fund of the library. The Government of Mongolia had already listed the lexicon as a piece of unique cultural heritage in 2012.
According to B. Amarsaikhan’s post on Montsame.mn is the creation of this xylograph “unmatched for its great effect on the national philosophy and achievements of the scientific development, as well as the mesmerizing cultural masterpiece of the nations of the East.”
Merged Garakhiin Oron (Towards Attaining Wisdom) xylograph (1924)
[image courtesy of Montsame.mn]
On 7 May 2015, I will be giving a talk on ‘The typographic evolution of typefaces for the Manchu language‘ in the East Asian Library at the Sinology Department of the University of Leiden.
The talk will cover the origin, the evolution and the use of Manchu typefaces. Supported with original and rare images –taken at the archives and collections of renown typefoundries, printing houses and libraries in Europe, Mongolia and Russia–, I will illustrate why it is necessary to investigate previous typesetting technologies and to analyze the typographic qualities of Manchu typefaces in order to find solutions for designing and developing new digital Manchu fonts for contemporary use.
More information can be found at www.research.leiden.edu
poster exhibition and symposium ‘Leiden en de Mantsjoes / Leiden and the Manchus’
On Friday 24 May 2013, ‘Mongolian script: from metal type to digital font‘ will be presented at the SHARE#3 conference in Brussels.
SHARE (Step-change for Higher Arts Research and Education) is an international networking project, comprising 39 partners working together on enhancing the ‘3rd cycle’ of arts research and education, creating a Europe-wide exchange framework for the widely different experiences, practices and ideas that make up the lively domain of artistic and cultural research.
SHARE brings together arts graduate schools, arts research centres, arts educators, supervisors, researchers and cultural practitioners. It also acts as a network of networks including participation from large networks such as ELIA (European League of Institutes of the Arts) and smaller networks such as EARN (European Art Research Network) and EUFRAD (European Forum for Research Degrees in Art and Design) to name only some of the many networks active in European arts research.
SHARE is co-funded by the EU through the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency through the ERASMUS Lifelong Learning Programme.
After outlining the objectives of the research project the talk will shed a light on how the material of the various international locations was collected, managed and processed during the research period.
SHARE#3 will take place at LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas Brussel. Visit the SHARE website for registration and more information on the SHARE#3 conference.
In the coming week I will be practically ‘living’ in the manuscript reading room of Cambridge University Library. For this leg of the research project, the archives of the British and Foreign Bible Society will be investigated in search of contextual information on Bible translations that were printed in the Mongolian script.
Not only will original copies of these publications and the utilized Mongolian printing types be studied, also the correspondence of the translators, typesetters and printers, the minutes and reports of the Bible societies and other involved participants will be examined.
The next couple of days will take me back to the early nineteenth century, into the then undiscovered regions of Siberia.
This week I am heading off to Milwaukee, WI (USA) to give a progress-update of the research project at MKE SHIFT TypeCon2012, the annual conference on typography & typeface design organized by SoTa (the Society of Typographic Aficionados). I will also present new findings and previously unseen material from different printing archives, especially collected for the project’s database.
TypeCon2012 is taking place from July 31th until August 5th at the InterContinental Milwaukee, Winsconsin (USA).
More information can be found at
It was a pleasant surprise to see the celebratory greetings I had sent to the Khumuun Bichig newspaper were published in their edition of 18 May 2012.
The text, written by Bayarbat Khandmaa, reads:
Хүмүүн бичиг сонины 20 жилийн ойн баярт талархал дэвшүүлэхдээн би тун их баяртай байна. Танай хамт олны бүтээж буй үйлс үнэ цэнэтэй бөгөөд монголын хэвлэлийн салбарт онцгой байр суурь эзэлдэг хэмээн би үздэг.
Үндэснийхээ бичгээр дагнан 20 жилийн турш сонин гаргаж буй хөдөлмөр нь үнэхээр бахдам бөгөөд цаашид ч мөн олон жилийн сайхан ирээдүй та бүхнийг хүлээж буй гэдэгт би огт эргэлзэхгүй байна.
Хүмүүн бичиг сонин бол монголын өв соёл, өвөрмөц хэв шинжийг ялгаруулан таниулж, түгээн дэлгэрүүлэхэд чухал үүрэг гүйцэтгэж байгаа нь үнэн юм.
Та бүхэнтэй хамтран ажиллахдаа би үргэлж баяртай байдаг.
Хүмүүн бичиг сонины хамт олонд хамгийн сайн сайхан бүхнийг хүсэн ерөөе.
❡ Их британийн Ридинг их сургуулийн судлаач Жо Две Баярдвмаявквр
and translated freely into English, reads as follows:
I’m very pleased to congratulate the Khumuun Bichig newspaper with its twentieth anniversary. Your work is very valuable and unique in Mongolian media en printing.
I am proud of your 20 years in publishing a newspaper entirely in the Mongolian script, and wish you a bright future ahead.
The Khumuun Bichig newspaper plays a main role in introducing and sharing Mongolian culture and its unique tradition.
Best wishes to all colleagues of the Khumuun Bichig newspaper.
❡ Jo De Baerdemaeker, University of Reading
An English version of Frank Adebiaye’s report on my research talk in Paris is published on Typofonderie’s Gazette, the ‘newspaper’ blog from the French typeface designer Jean-François Porchez.
Frank Adebiaye, French typographer and typeface designer, wrote a report on my research talk at La Semaine de la Mongolie in Paris on 8 May 2012.
You can read the report (in French only) on his blog and see his work on the Velvetyne Type Foundry (VTF) website.
‘Tableau des alphabets Mongols et Mandchou’
Guillaume Pauthier. 1858. ‘De l’origine et de la formation des différents systèmes d’écritures orientales et occidentales’. Paris: Imprimerie de Bourgogne et Martinet (extract from Encyclopédie Nouvelle p.588)
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Khumuun Bichig, the Mongolian newspaper from the Montsame Mongolian National News Agency in Ulaanbaatar.
From the first day of its publication, on 10 May 1992, the four pages of Khumuun Bichig were set entirely in the Mongolian script and distributed throughout the country. In 2010, Khumuun Bichig‘s circulation reached 127 535 copies.
Over the past twenty years Khumuun Bichig was restyled a couple of times, but remained to be an invaluable historical and educational document that continued to support Mongolian writing and calligraphy by collaborating with renowned calligraphers and Mongolian script educators, by reporting on various events and publications about Mongolian writing, and by organizing annual calligraphy competitions. It became an indirect teaching resource by providing a learning environment to anyone interested in the Mongolian script.
On 22 August 2011, I had the privilege to visit the offices of Khumuun Bichig in Ulaanbaatar and to interview Altantsetseg Sampil, director and editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Miss Sampil showed several original copies of Khumuun Bichig from various periods, illustrating the different formats and layouts of the publication. She also introduced me to Bayarbat Khandmaa and Elbeg Andarzara, the two current editors and typesetter-designers of the contemporary digital edition. The entire interview was audio-recorded and a detailed paper on the meeting and history of Khumuun Bichig is being prepared.
At present, Khumuun Bichig is the only newspaper in Mongolia that is typeset and printed in the Mongolian script, whereas the other national newspapers are all set in Cyrillic.
It is hoped that with the President’s support for the Mongolian script, the readership of Khumuun Bichig will only increase, and that this newspaper continues to be the leading newspaper in and on Mongolian writing.
On Tuesday 8 May, an update on the progress of this research project on Mongolian typefaces and new unreleased material will be presented at la Semaine de la Mongolie in Paris.
From 7 until 13 May, the thirteenth district of Paris is celebrating Mongolian culture in all its aspects. The symposium, which focuses on ‘Mongolian Space and Heritage’ is organized by OTASIE and includes several exhibitions, workshops, colloquiums, lecture panels, discussion forums, film screenings and concerts. My talk will start on 8 May at 11:00 am in Les Voûtes, 19 rue des Frigos, Paris.
The entire program-brochure can be downloaded or consulted at otasie.org More information can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org or found at www.otasie.org