This Page is about the scroll for the Award of Arms to Bambar Ghoa (mka Mendee)

This scroll is done for an SCA event held in the Crown Province of Ostgardr in the Kingdom of the East. This is my first (but no longer, only) scroll so forgive my excitedness over actually having it done at all. Here it is:

(Please ignore the misalignment of the two scans pieced together)

The text reads: (in Mongol)

Zuun Khant ulusuun Ihe Khan Andreas, Musun Shonhor, bolon Munkhe Tengeruun dor uhaalag mergeneeree hundlegden aldarshsan Yorkiin Ihe Hatan Isabella nariin ugendu gazar dorgin uul chichreh boltugai.

Bambar Ghoagiin unench zutgel hyzgaargui ih tuslaltsaag ergen toirson bolgon ni medren anhaarchi baidag bui.

Mongol hel bolon soyoluun asar bayalag medlegeeree ter uuriin haandaa mashid ihe ner turu busud haant ulusuud dotroo avchirsan bulgee.

Bambar Ghoa ni Zuun haant ulusiin ard tumend dotor harvaach, bagsh, oyodolchin bolon uuriiguu zoriuuldag negen gedgeeree aldartai bilee.

Bambar Ghoa ni uuriin hemjeendee enehuu yneleltiig avah buren erhtei gej uzen bud bugd Luu jiliin yesdeh sariin horin tav dahi udur Ostgarduun Ilhantaid iinhuu shagnaliig olgomoi.

The English translation:

Let the ground shake and the mountains tremble at the words of Andreas Eisfalke, Great Khan of the East Khanate, inspired by the wisest under the Eternal Blue Sky, Isabella of York, Khatun.

All those who dwell in felt tents pay heed that we wish to recognize Bambar Ghoa for her loyalty and service.

She brought honor to her Khan with word of her profound knowledge of Mongol language and culture spread throughout the people of the other Khanates.

She is well known among the people of the East as an archer, a seamstress, a teacher, and as one who gives of herself.

Bambar Ghoa has earned the right to bear her own standard, thus do we award unto her arms in this, the 25th day of the 9th moon in the year of the Dragon [Oct. 21st, A.S. 35] in the Ilkhanate of Ostgardr.

How the scroll was prepared

First I wrote the English text. Not too difficult. I simply tried to flavor the whole thing as Mongol as possible. King and Queen became Great Khan and Khatun, Crown Province became Ilkhanate. I tried to use references the way they were used in The Secret History of the Mongols - "All those who dwell in felt tents," I refer to the "people" instead of the "land," spoke of the power of the Khan and the wisdom of the Khatun, and even converted the date to the lunar calendar. The latter turned out to be much more difficult than someone would expect of a calendar still in use. Having never written a scroll before, I then went and got some critiques from experienced heralds and scroll makers, and made a few minor changes.

Next I emailed it to Tuya (mka Odontuya) who is a member of the Silver Horde and a friend of Mendee's from Mongolia who was able to translate it.

Having received the Mongol translation in Latin letters via email, the most difficult task lay ahead. I had to transliterate (or would it be transcribe?) from Latin letters to Old Script Mongol letters. I did have access to some excellent sources for such translations (references below) but still difficult due to a few major obstacles. The letter for letter conversions were between Latin letters and Old Script letters, and the two used different conventions - neither matched the one used by Tuya. I had one to convert from Latin letters to Cyrillic letters which used yet another convention and a vague recollection from trying to learn Russian years ago. Incidentally, Mongol Cyrillic and Russian Cyrillic are not exactly the same. These differences in conventions are not huge, two or three letters between each, but it coincided with the letters I was unfamiliar with and basically drove me nuts. I had use of an excellent translation dictionary from modern Cyrillic Mongol to Old Script Mongol with a great section solely on ending words - something critical to proper Old Script that the letter for letter converters all but ignored. I converted the first sentence with the books alone but soon realized the spelling differences and being unaware of difference in meaning caused by a single letter changed would become an insurmountable obstacle. I corrected a few mistakes and converted the rest with Tuya's help over the phone. This process took several days going 3 - 6 hours a sitting.

As for how it should look, I asked around for advice and got quite a few really good suggestions. In the end, I had to settle for the translation alone being the focus of the scroll in an official letter format. I took comfort in having been shown a graphic of another scroll done in Yuan Dynasty Chinese fashion and not being too different. I would like to mention a few of the other ideas that were brought up for if someone else who has more time and resources may want to consider them. The best suggestion that a couple of people made was to do a paize (passport tablet) - they were issued by the sovereign to anyone official and gave them the ability to move about the Mongol Empire freely, a likely equivalent for an AoA. A Buddhist prayer book. A Tibetan/Mongolian Thanka. Lettering on cloth mounted on a wood frame (seen this one done but unsure of its authenticity) A scroll in the culture of a conquered culture (Russian or Persian) in which a more definitive example could be obtained - indeed my AoA was done in a nice Persian miniature format.

To actually make the scroll I used 105# medium surface paper 11 x 13.5. The odd size is because I had to trim a side that was spiral bound - go figure! I tried to use a Chinese brush set I had but couldn't get the ink to mix right and the brush itself produced too wide a stroke for what I needed to write. Instead I opted for a fountain pen with black India ink. Having been shown once before how to use such a pen, the learning curve was really short. I did a rough draft with a wide tip on cheap paper. It looked horrible but gave a good idea of what the real thing will be like. When I was ready for the final scroll, I drew measured lines in dark ink on one sheet of paper and taped it to the back of the good paper as a guide for the words. I practiced each word 4 or 5 times on lined paper before I wrote it on the scroll, both as practice and to be sure the ink was at a consistent flow. This didn't always work but it was much better than not at all. My first two attempts ended with a mistake in the first and third word respectively. The third sheet was the scroll itself, I had two mistakes that a little extra ink resolved and one spelling mistake that I can't find now but know is there.

I originally wanted to add some form of artwork to it, just a little eternal knot or something else simple but as this was a last minute effort, I didn't have time to start again nor the artistic talent to be sure it would come out right the first time. Considering who it was for, she would thrilled it was in Mongol at all and shocked that I was able to do this, especially without her help. I added a Chinese style seal in red ink. The Mongols adapted this custom and there are examples of letters sent out with similar seals for the Great Khans only written in Mongol. Mendee got the stamp a few months ago but never used it before. I tried a stamp pad - ugly effect, maybe if I found a better stamp pad I'd try again. So I used Burgundy calligraphy ink, I needed to stamp it a few times on scrap paper before the ink was consistent for a good stamp. Incidentally, the stamp is the Chinese character for "Luck".

As an added touch, I wrote out for their Majesties how to sign their names in Mongol which they were happy to go along with.


Mongol Bichig Un Tobchi, by J. Bat - Ireedui & D. Baasanbat, editor Ts. Hurelsambuu, 1992, Published by donated funds from Korea, no ISBN
[Modern Cyrillic Mongol to Old Script Mongol translation dictionary]

Minii Mongol Bichig, by T. Dashtseden, editors Ts. Shagdarsuren & Sh. Choimaa, 1992, Published by donated funds from Korea, no ISBN
[accompanying textbook on writing in Old Script]

Mongolian Language Handbook, by Nicholas Poppe, 1970, Center for Applied Linguistics, ISBN 87281-003-8

English - Mongolian Mini Dictionary Mongol - English, edited by Pitir. K. Marsh & P. Uush, 1999, no ISBN

Mongolian - English Dictionary, Ferdinand D. Lessing general editor, 1973, The Mongolia Society, ISBN 910980-40-3

The Secret History of the Mongols, Translated and edited by Francis Woodman Cleaves, Harvard-Yenching Institute, 1982, ISBN 0-674-79670-5

Storm From The East - from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan, by Robert Marshall, 1993, BBC Books, ISBN 0 563 36338 X
p.154, picture of Guyug Khan's Letter to the Pope in 1247

© 2000, by Luigi Kapaj, in the SCA: Gülügjab Tangghudai (Puppy)
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