dynasty // mongol
Dynasty stems from my own anxiety that the country of my cultural identity is in decline. I think back to what the United States of America once was. A country of constant innovation, independence and above all, a society united in a common pride for what we stood for. Now I see a land divided on many fronts and distracted from seeing a long term vision; blind to our own regression.
Dynasty is a look into the current human condition of cultures that were once empire builders and societies on the forefront of human advancement. Peoples whose ancestors conquered vast swaths of land, amassed extraordinary wealth, and exported ideology to the far horizons. However, as history has proven, even the greatest empires will eventually fall. This is a story of the culture that endures and the resilience of the individuals who perpetuate their heritage.
This particular selection of work from Dynasty looks at the Mongols; arguably the greatest empire builders of all time. From atop a horse, the men lead by Genghis Khan consolidated the largest land empire in human history and with this came the first sustained contact between East and West. Caravan routes like the Silk Road were established, forever changing world commerce. Five hundred years later, with the empire long gone, Mongolia ranks 114th in per capita income but its past conquests still serve as a fundamental component of their cultural identity. Despite the exodus of youth to cities, ancient tradition endures in the far corners of the rolling steppe. In what is the least densely populated country in the world, many Mongolians live nomadically off the land and in close ties with their horses, much like their ancestors. In fact there’s a saying that reads, “A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings."