One of my missions this summer has been to remove T.R. from the couch every so often so they don’t grow together. Yesterday it was easier than most days: I took him to see the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Tech.
I went to the show refreshingly ignorant. Everything I knew about Genghis was contained in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. T.R., on the other hand, is an enthusiast. He will discuss tactics like victory by retreat at length. He considers the fact that the Mongolian recurve bows could outshoot the English longbows of the period by 100 yards or more to be of vital importance, particularly since the Mongols usually shot at their targets from galloping horses. After all, Genghis is a man after T.’s own heart, who believed that one should wear the same shirt until it disintegrated on the body and that washing shirts and bodies was a waste of time.
What surprised me was that Genghis adapted an alphabet for his people, who had always been illiterate. He instituted the rule of law. Religious freedom for all residents of the empire seemed like an obvious thing to him. Did I mention he was elected Khan?
Sure, he wreaked plenty of havoc, but he was more than a violent barbarian.
The exhibit itself contains lots of information, both about Genghis and his family and about the culture around them. Very cool ger, amazing textiles, lots of pointy swords, swank period jewelry, and pithy remarks.
Note: the exhibit includes human remains, the mummy of a woman from his time period. If you have issues with this, you might not like the exhibit. I would have preferred that the woman be allowed to keep her robes on and to rest where she was put all those years ago.