A proverb (from the Latin proverbium), also called a byword or nayword,is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim. If a proverb is distinguished by particularly good phrasing, itmay be known as an aphorism.
The lexical fund of the Mongolian proverbs has various meanings and symbols. For example, five species of livestock, lion, tiger, wolf, dog, snap, crow, magpie, peacock, goose and etc., between them most place occupied by proverbs on five species of livestock. It is not an occasion. As a result of the interrelationship between natural selection under harsh geographical and climatic conditions, selective breeding and unique animal husbandry techniques, five species of livestock have been traditionally herded in Mongolia: horses, cattle, sheep, goats and camels. Mongolian livestock is well adapted to the geographical and climatic conditions of Central Asia and Mongolia, and is capable of living and reproducing on the basis of using only natural pasture all year round. The five species of livestock, especially a horse most is reflected to the folk oral literature. The Mongols accorded to horse a great spiritual significance. Some historical sources inform that “Before setting forth on military campaigns commanders of the Chinggis Khaan’s army would scatter mare’s milk on the earth to insure victory”. In shamanic rituals, horses were sacrificed to provide “transport” to heaven. The early Mongolian flag consists from white (for state) and black (for war) hairs of the horse. Between Buddhist sutras main importance paid the sutra on “Lunda-rta” /In Tibetan/ as in Mongolian“Khiimoriin san” for Mongols. The Mongols symbolized their happiness and lucky with horses. In the Maitreya (One of the Got of Buddhism) circumambulation ritualthe green headed horse played main role to the journey in all worlds of the Buddhist religious believe.
It is very interesting to know that Mongols have 300 words in their language that are in one way or another related to the horse colors. The Mongols have a long tradition on scrutinizing horse colors. They named horse colors into two basic differences as “basic color” and “double color”. The color is important for the ritual side and symbolizing. Chestnut is considered good; black is heavy.Elder people say that brownish chestnut is a good color. Also they say the light bay color stays in its generation and cannot be inherited to the next generation.Therefore, it is not good. I do not know anything about white. Not many people choose a whitish-yellow horse as a stallion. In old times, brownish chestnut wasconsidered a good color. Light bay color with a white line on his nose is also good.It was considered to be a god’s steed. Therefore, the herders said that, “Select as a stallion a black horse if you are enough rich, Select as a stallion a white horse if you are enough filled”
In two volumes book, “The Mongolian Proverb” written by G.Rinchinsambuu there are collected totally 10475 proverbs. Between them 507 proverbs or 4.84 percent from total proverbs occupies proverb on horse.
These proverbs connected with symbolized thought of the Mongolians. Since ancient time Mongolians were proficient riders, and have many good horses and weapon. The Mongolians considered a horse is one of the most important animals and were breed in very big herds. The Mongol cavalry astonished by their mobility and fighting skills have been considered in world history.
By J.Gangbaatar, 2008