From the Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum: Boots worn for Tsam Ritual Dance

Art & Culture
2021-03-03 14:49:24

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. The Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum keeps a pair of boots decorated with makara worn for the tsam ritual dance that traces back to the 19th to the early 20th century.


Dimensions: 39 x 30 x 11.3 cm
Material: silk, cotton, brocade, thread, bone, hide


The boots are kept at the museum as a part of the costume set for Jamsran (Begtse Dharmapala). While its tip is the same as those of traditional Mongolian boots, they are made of red silk, with black cotton sewn for the section on top of the sole. The toe box is decorated with makara - in other words, in the shape of a crocodile head. Furthermore, the boots’ shaft is also decorated with bone accessories. In the tsam dance, this type of boots featuring a crocodile is only worn for wrathful deities. 


As crocodiles are known to continuously clamp down on their prey, the makara is commonly illustrated on many types of weapons that are used in religious rituals. For its symbolism of the sea, it is also used to decorate the drain pipes of temples as well as water spouts at springs alongside artworks and architecture.