This film is part of Free


Mongolian men show off their prowess in wrestling, archery and horse racing, known as the “three manly games”.

Amateur film 1935 42 mins Silent


The climax of the Mongolian calendar is the annual games, or Naadam, usually held in July. The excitement is palpable in this film, as men compete in wrestling, archery and horse racing, events designed to show off their masculine physique and sporting skills. Additional scenes show the simple life of these nomadic people, who depend on sheep rearing and horse breeding for their livelihood.

The steppes of northern China are home to the Mongolians, whose nomadic life in search of better pastures for their horses requires them to live in mobile ger (yurts). The film contains an interesting sequence on how felt is made for the ger by rolling wool. The film was made in 1935 in what is now Inner MongoIia, but which was then part of Japan’s puppet state of Manchukuo or Manchuria (1934-45), explaining the presence of Manchu officials sporting queues (braided ponytails) and pointed tasselled hats, both of which had disappeared by this time in the rest of republican China (1912-1949).