A nomadic family in Mongolia
"Always there has been an adventure just around the corner. And the world is still full of corners!"
Roy Chapman Andrews
As a nomad nation, the Mongols have thousands of years of history and experience of raising livestock. The life of the Mongols almost totally depended on those animals. They ate the meat and the milk, even distilled wine from the sour cream; They made clothes from the skin and made the felt of the yurts from the wool; Their transportation was the big animals like horse, ox and camel. So the Mongols are very fond of those livestock and they can recognize every single one and call its name from hundreds of them. You probably wonder, how many kinds of livestock do the Mongols raise? The answer is very certain, the Mongols only raise five kinds of livestock. Except the following animals, other animals are never considered as livestock ( 'mal' in Mongol language) by the Mongols. The five kind of livestock ( the Mongols call them ' tavun hushuu mal') are: Horse, Sheep, Ox, Camel and goat.
Horse: the Mongol name is 'mori ' or ' aduu', the most beloved animal of the Mongols. Those famous Mongolian small horses, had been carrying the Mongols, conquered half of the world. It was the major transportation of the Mongols. It is very rare that the Mongols kill a horse. So they are not used to eat the horse meat and use the horse skin.But the mane and the tail hair is good for making rope and bag etc. It has "a powerful neck, somewhat thick legs, and a dense coat, but it is wonderful for its fiery spirit and its vigor, endurance, steadiness, and sureness of foot", as a foreigner described. The horse is a symbol of the Mongol nation.
Sheep: the Mongols call a sheep as ' khoni '. Mutton is the most favorite meat of the Mongols. It is said that the mutton of Inner Mongolia and Gobi regions of Outer Mongolia is the most delicious mutton. The original Mongolian sheep has a straight and coarse hair, it is good for tough weather. Skin is for coats and shoes, wool is for felt, carpet and clothes, milk is for sour cream and cheese. Sheep is a symbol of submissiveness and weakness since it keep quiet when it is killed.
Ox: the Mongol name of a ox is 'ukher'. The cow milk is considered as the best milk for milk tea, cream and cheese. Beef is also very welcome among the Mongols. Good leather is always made from ox skin. Ox is also the only right animal for the Mongolian cart, a wooden cart with a pair of big wooden wheels. Although it is really slow, but the Mongols enjoy it. Usually the cart is driven by single ox.
Camel: the Mongol name of a camel is 'temee'. Camel is the highest animal the Mongols raising. It is the most important livestock of the Mongols who living in the Gobi deserts. The wool of female camel is a very good natural resource of textile. It offers good transportation and meat to the people raising them. A camel can drink 20 gallon water once and survive for a month without drinking any water. Camel is a symbol of something very high .
Goat: the Mongol name of a goat is 'yamaa'. Goat is a animal that the Mongol have been considering as the most unimportant livestock. But it is proved that goat is the animal having the most valuable and expensive stuff indeed. Cashmere, a fine wool growing beneath the outer coarse hair of the goat , is considered as the finest and most expensive natural fiber. 1 Kg raw cashmere worth about $ 60 in the international market. The finest cashmere in the world comes from the goats of Ordos region, Inner Mongolia. Except the cashmere, goat meat and skin are also good stuffs. Goat is the symbol of something or somebody which is not serious in manner.