The Morin Khuur — Mongolian national musical instrument
In 2008, UNESCO included Mongolian national musical instrument the Morin Khuur in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Morin khuur is a bowed stringed musical instrument, distributed in Mongolia, in northern China (primarily the Inner Mongolia region) and Russia (in Buryatia, Tuva, the Irkutsk region and the Trans-Baikal Territory).
The name of the instrument consists of two words «Morin» — a horse and «huur» — a string, a voice. Probably, this name is connected with the legend about the origin of «Morin khuur»: There was a very strong man who had a winged horse, and no one could defeat him in battle. However, the enemies waited until the hero and his horse fell asleep, and cut off the horse’s wings. The winged horse died, and to commemorate the animal the strong man made the first “Morin khuur” from his mane, skin and bones. He played the instrument, and in these sounds he heard the voice of his beloved horse.
The instrument consists of a trapeziform wooden-framed sound box to which two strings are attached. These strings are made from horse’s tail hair. The Morin huur’s headstock is made in the shape of a horse’s head.
A monument to the instrument was erected in the city of Darkhan. It depicts a man riding a horse and playing the Morin Khuur.
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