By Gantogtokh Lhagvasüren, Research Associate, Bogd Khan Palace Museum
This is a chalcedony cup used by the late 8th Bogd Khan of Mongolia. The handles of the cup in chalcedony, used by the Bogd Khan, are in the shape of fish. Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite. Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black. The chalcedony cup used by the Bogd Khan is semi-transparent and is in the shade of brown.
Mongolia is rich in chalcedony, of which there are more than 100 kinds, which have been used by the Mongolians over the centuries.
The Bogd Khan’s chalcedony cup was made in the early 20th century and is preserved at the Bogd Khan Palace Museum in Ulaanbaatar.
The Mongolian Observer would like to express its sincere appreciation to O. Mendsaikhan, the Director of the Museum and its research associates Ts. Günjin-Ish G. Saranbolor, G. Lhagvasüren for their invaluable contribution to the magazine and for sharing with our readers stories about some of the treasure trove preserved at the Museum and used by the Bogd Khan and his wife Queen Dondogdulam.