Characteristics of Mongolian Furniture

In the conversation of the intricate design and beauty of Asian furniture and household items, Mongolia is a name that is usually forgotten. However, this is a great shame, as Mongolia is home to a rich culture and history of artisanship with some of the most unique and astounding designs to be found. If you have ever gotten the chance to visit the rural countryside of the Mongolian steppes and witness the traditional ger home of the nomads, the first thing you may notice is the beautifully crafted traditional like beds, storage boxes, tables, stools, cupboards, and a drawer. In this article, we will discover what truly makes Mongolian furniture so uniquely beautiful.

The Types of the Mongolian Traditional Furniture

As you would expect Mongolian traditional furniture encompasses every necessity of a household, including seats, beds, tables, and furniture used for storage. While they may be simple items expected at every home, depending on the region and other factors they take on many different forms. For example, furniture used for seats has many styles: stools, chairs, high platforms, thrones, and folding stools. Furthermore, beds include folding beds, demountable beds, and fixed beds, The tables are used for worship, dining, drinking tea, reading and writing. Storage furniture is known as cabinets, trunks, and boxes, and varies in size and detail. Most furniture is rectangular and easily stackable. Many think this is a purposeful design choice since nomads are expected to relocate many times during the year.

Decor and finish

Most of the Mongolian traditional furniture is decorated with colorful motifs on surfaces and has an ornament component. The color of the piece is typically bright orange or yellow with bright blue colored decorations with white details. The types of motifs are encompassed animal figures, plant figures, geometrical shapes, and other shapes. The decoration style, structures, and workmanship of Mongolian traditional furniture are changing gradually. Mongolian traditional furniture has small ornamental afflicted components. Craftsmen color-paint and engrave motifs, or sometimes inlay bone, shell, or another hardwood piece on the ornaments’ surface.


Like any culture, Mongolia’s nomadic history plays a large role in a ger’s design choices. You learn more about not just Mongolian history, but world history here.

Mortise and tenon are traditional wooden furniture joint structures. There were no single metal joints in the antique Mongolian furniture. It takes time to saw tenon and drill mortise by hand. People use machines to make tenons and mortise instead of using handcraft tools in the contemporary era. When the hinge, invented to fix flat panel furniture originally, become the main joint used on solid wood furniture, Mongolian confirmed hinge was used to install the door panels to the cabinet. The craftsmen also apply prefabricated dowels to replace the tenon and mortise joints to reduce the procedure of producing.

Contemporary Mongolian Furniture

As with any cultural aspect, traditional Mongolian furniture started to change and adapt to the current times and environment. Although the historic designs and artistry found in Mongolian furniture are still being kept alive by dedicated crafters, many artisans have started to bring a more modern twist to these iconic pieces. Mongolian furniture is experiencing a constant transition. It would be viewed apparently from the changing of preference to motifs, styles, and the simplification of craftsmanship. For example, compared to the historic remains of Mongolian furniture with the Mongolian furniture nowadays, the amount of motifs has a decreasing tendency. For example, in the past, we preferred colorful tables and cabinets which were painted with dragons, phoenixes, tigers, lions, deer, and birds in the past. Now many contemporary pieces are engraved with abstract lines, curves, or plants on the surface, and with a transparent lacquer layer coating. Even the traditional colors of orange and blue are changing and being replaced with more experimental colors.


Traditional Mongolian furniture has a long history dating back centuries ago and is a unique piece that shows us a glimpse of the rich culture and identity Mongolia holds. The traditional furniture you would usually find in nomadic households has a rectangular shape and a bright orange color. They are typically decorated with an intricate design of an animal or mythical creature, but many modern artisans are changing this original motif.