Soyombo – a symbol of Mongolia’s independence

Soyombo – a symbol of Mongolia’s independence
The two variantsof the Soyombo symbol
Ts. Erdenechimeg, senior archivist 
of the Center on Historic Documents 
of the National Archives presents our 
readers with one of the interesting 
documents preserved in the funds of 
the National History Archive about 
Soyombo, an emblem of freedom and 
independence of the Mongolian people.
This historic material was created in 
1948 by eminent Mongolian writer 
and scientist, Guush B.Rinchen.

From ancient times, brave Mongolian warriors defended their country against enemies and carried the Soyombo emblem on their banners. The Mongols associated the Soyombo as a symbol of freedom and independence. In their travel notes, many foreign missionaries noted the talk of old folks who lived in the valley of Amdo Huho Lake and also of the descendents of soldiers who served Oold Guush Khan the lion-hearted. Valiant patriot Tsogt Taiji waged a struggle to defend his country from alien Manchu enemies who tried to establish domination over Mongolia since the 17th Century and opposed the Dalai Lama Wanchin Bogd of the Lamaist Religion of Tibet and their puppets. In 1634, Tsogt Taij mobilized about 40,000 soldiers and waged a battle against the head lamas of the yellow religion and carried a national banner with the sign of Soyombo. 
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the popular Hatanbaatar Magsarjav struggled for Mongolia’s
independence against Chinese invaders and carried a banner with the Soyombo emblem. This proves that Hatanbaatar Magsarjav was well-versed about the Soyombo and the traditions of the people’s struggle under the Soyombo symbol. In the years of autonomous republic, the Soyombo was used as symbol on banners and the flag, in the state stamp symbolizing sovereignty, and national independence freed from
Manchu-Chinese domination. Judging from preferences made to Soyombo, not to four powerful animals – lion, dragon, leopard and mythical bird Garudi, it was evident that this sign has been revered as the symbol of Mongolia’s independence.
In 1921, the Year of White Rooster, when Sukhbaatar and Choibalsan-led soldiers of the people’s army waged a struggle against Baron Ungern and foreign invaders for Mongolian independence, they also carried a flag with the Soyombo symbol of Mongolia’s independence and freedom and gained victory. In all of Mongolian history, the Soyombo served as a symbol for Mongolian independence and freedom in its struggle against foreign enemies.
From the point of history, ideology, literature and traditions meaning of Soyombo could be explained as
Starting from the top; It sits atop the Sun, the Moon and a 3-flamed Fire. The Sun and Moon means Mongolia. For the past 2000 years, Mongols have not considered themselves related to China but being born from the Sun and the Moon thus interpreting the Mongol nation in the form of the Sun and the Moon. The 3-flamed fire on the top of the Sun and the Moon under the Soyombo represents that from ancient times, Mongols very much venerated the fire and the hearth considering it as the female source for
lineage continuation. The three prongs or flames of the fire symbolized the past, present and future which must flourish and strive upwards.
Two triangle images in the Soyombo, according to the ancient literature and ideology of Mongolia, are symbols of the arrow and spear to be used in wartime against enemies to defend their country. Triangles on top and below symbolize the willingness of all people, young and old, men and women alike for the victory of Mongolia’s independence and for defeating enemies.
Two square form images in the Soyombo symbolize that people, irrespective of their social status, ranks and occupation must dedicate their efforts for their country. In the center of the Soyombo are images of
two fish depicted in counterclockwise form. From ancient times the Mongols interpreted fish as vigilant because they never close their eyes. The two fish symbolize ying-yang, the masculine and female parts, its counterclockwise position means everybody above and below, men and women alike must be vigilant against enemy encroachment.
Two vertical rectangles on both sides of Soyombo mean fortress and symbolize unity and strength; it
interprets that if people, above and below, men and women alike are all unified, Mongolia will be strong as
this iron fortress. 
Proceeding from the content of the Soyombo sign, the best Mongolian patriots used the Soyombo as an
emblem of the country’s freedom and independence. In 1924, the lotus flower was added underneath of
Soyombo emblem when the people’s government was formed and the constitution was adopted. The lotus
has been interpreted as the flower which grows from beneath mud and water dumps but the holy white color
of the flower never becomes dirty.
The lotus flower symbolizes people’s souls as always clean from egoistic feelings.
From a religious point of view, lamas tried to explain the Soyombo which from ancient times, the
Mongolian people used as a sign of the people’s liberation by developing it as the Manzushiri reincarnation, and in order not to come into conflict with the Manchu king, it was identified by five colors of elements. The sign of the 5-prong star was also explained from a religious perspective. Legend says that scripts of Soyombo symbol were created by Undur Gegeen. It was evident from this explanation that Manchus from the times of Undur Gegeen tried to take Mongolia under their domination forcefully imposing Manchu script as the state alphabet. It is said Undur Gegeen created the Soyombo symbol by taking an idea from the first letter of sutra called ‘Long Live Mongolia’. He called the letter Soyombo and put it as first letter of the stamp, it was a sign and of wellwishing and the benediction book and literature. The Soyombo letter which
symbolized Mongolia’s independence was still in use until the period of autonomous Mongolia. After being
separated from China, Soyombo was used in the state stamp as a sign of Mongolian independence.



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