At the height of the nomadic tentage tradition, the yurt became a symbol.
The tents of state have become big affairs and could no longer simply be made as trellis or yurts tents (because of size and length of roof ribs) anymore, but the emperor’s tent remained always a yurt, usually of crimson colour, a colour that was kept for the use of the ruler only.
The moving camp, or ordu, at times was the size of a small city.
A nomadic tradition that had its routes with the mongols (or even before them), this nomadic camp will form around a ruler or one of his persons of status, and would continue to travel as a unit even after their death at times.
The romance of these traveling camps to me seems immense, although if you dig into it you can see that as long as nomadism was a pastoral thing, where the camp moved with its grazing livestock, it was sustainable
But at later times when nomads became rulers of empires, through a process we talked about here, their nomadic camps turned into whole moving cities, and I think have become less sustainable.
Those cities where born out of conquest, which is not unlike grazing; where a moving people took from the landscape what they need, except that with conquest they took what they could.
For a golden age that started with the mongols and ended with the Mughul empire, nomads have become kings, and their tents have become palaces, I like the fact that even at its highest point, the emperor had kept a yurt, a tie to those nomadic roots.
I think its not the just the fact that in order to keep the lavish life style, these nomads had to keep “grazing” on the sedentary.
Its the fact that the lavishness and riches of their lifestyle turned them into the very people that they conquered, that brought down the moving cities of old.
But as you may be able to see we do have a warm corner in our heart, for those moving cities that had a crimson yurts in their centre.
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