Traditional Mongolian gers, including an elaborate one fit for nobility, sit in the middle of a landscape inspired by the untamed beauty of the country’s steppes
A majestic Mongolian ger, with intricate detailing and craftsmanship fit for nobility, stands prominently within Flower Dome as part of Gardens by the Bay’s Chrysanthemum Charm (菊之韵) floral display. Specially commissioned and handcrafted from scratch by ger craftsmen living in the remote province of Uvs, such a ger is rare to see even in Mongolia.
Mongolian for “home”, the tent-like structure is an iconic part of the country’s nomadic culture, and remains a dwelling for many Mongolians today, especially those living outside of the city.
Chrysanthemum Charm marks Gardens by the Bay’s inaugural collaboration with the Embassy of Mongolia in Singapore. Inspired by the open grasslands and wild beauty reminiscent of the steppes of Mongolia, it features over 80 varieties of chrysanthemums, including more than 10 making their Southeast Asian debut.
Launched today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, the floral display will run until November 13.
Gardens by the Bay’s Senior Director of Gardens Operations Gary Chua said, “Mongolia has unparalleled wild beauty often untouched by urbanisation, and a rich and fascinating culture. As a horticultural show garden, Gardens by the Bay hopes to bring some of the country’s essence to visitors through the Chrysanthemum Charm floral display, not only through the myriad of beautiful flowers in a landscape inspired by Mongolia’s steppes, but also the authentic elements of their culture that visitors will not be able to experience anywhere else in Singapore.”
Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore H.E. Enkhbayar Sosorbaram said, “Although Mongolia is located on the Central Asian plateau and the climate can be harsh, the spring and summer brings a vibrant burst of colour and life and steppes and hills turn into carpets of flowers. Through this collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, we hope to introduce to Singapore the wild beauty of Mongolia’s vast lands, amidst the rich tapestry of Mongolian culture.”
New chrysanthemum varieties make their debut in Southeast Asia
Among the more than 10 new varieties of chrysanthemums making their debut in Southeast Asia, there are five new cultivars that have yet to be named.
Some of these new varieties include:
- Chrysanthemum Canon, a decorative-type, variegated bloom with petals that are predominantly light pink, but with dark pink streaks across
- Chrysanthemum Cruella, a decorative-type, bronze-coloured chrysanthemum with fluffy petals
- Chrysanthemum Pumpkin, a decorative-type, variegated chrysanthemum with striking blooms that are predominantly orange, but with dark red stripes across the petals
Other interesting varieties include Chrysanthemum Bombellini, a spider-type chrysanthemum with small, quill-like petals. Unlike other spider-type chrysanthemums where petals are long and drooping, Chrysanthemum Bombellini retains its tight, ball-like shape even when fully bloomed. It also comes in a distinctive bright green colour, which is unusual for chrysanthemums.
These flowers are interspersed with other pretty blooms such as dianthus, asters and scabiosa – flowers that pepper the wild landscapes of the Mongolian steppes. Many of these were grown in-house at Gardens by the Bay, nurtured to bloom by horticulturists.
A cultural display of Mongolian heritage
Of the two gers taking centrestage in the floral display, one is a more ordinary version that shows the everyday life of Mongolians, and the other is an elaborate one with intricate hand carvings, not only on the pillars and central support, but also on the door. Set up as halves, visitors can step inside both gers for an immersive experience. The gers were assembled with the support of the Mongolian community in Singapore, in honour of the country’s tradition where families set up their own gers.
As a result of a nomadic way of life, sustainability is a key aspect of the Mongolian lifestyle – as families move from place to place, everything is packed up or used up, with nothing left behind. For example, the Mongolian games on display are constructed using animal bones. Other items visitors can see include Mongolia’s national instrument – the morin khuur or horsehead fiddle (so-called because it can imitate the sound of horses), as well as the traditional clothing of Mongolia, the deel.
In addition, animals, an important aspect of Mongolian culture, feature in the landscape. Mongolians are heavily reliant on animals such as horses and camels as a form of transportation – when it is time to pack up and move off, a family’s entire life is literally carried on the backs of these animals to their next destination. Wolves, on the other hand, are deeply revered as a potent symbol of Mongolian identity and nationhood.
Chrysanthemum Charm also has a recreation of the Orkhon Waterfall, situated in the Orkhon Valley in central Mongolia. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape has served as a major intersection between the East and West over the centuries.
Traditional Mongolian performances in Flower Dome
“Rhythm of Mongolia”, a celebration of Mongolian culture through art and music, will take place over the weekend of September 30 and October 1.
In a mesmerising display, 16-year-old contortionist Khulan Serdamba will showcase just how flexible the human body can be by performing this centuries-old art form. Traditionally regarded as showing the beauty of the human form, contortionism used to be the domain of female performers, with dramatic bending, folding and flexing positions that integrate traditional Mongolian dance elements.
Shinetsog-Geni Dorjnyam from popular Mongolian folk-metal band Uuhai will return to his roots of Mongolian folk music, and demonstrate the art of throat singing while playing the horsehead fiddle. Through his voice, he will create a harmonically rich sound with multiple pitches, complemented by the wild and lilting music of his horsehead fiddle.
Master calligrapher Oyunpurev Nyam-Ochir will showcase calligraphy of classical Mongolian script, offering a visual journey into the ancient Mongolian empire.
All performances will take place in Flower Dome’s Flower Field Hall, at 2pm and 4pm on both days.
Chrysanthemum Charm floral display
📅 29 Sep to 13 Nov 2023
⏰ 9am – 9pm
🏷 Admission charge to Flower Dome applies. You can get tickets via Klook.
Visit here for more details.
Photos credit: Gardens by the Bay
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