Decoding the mysterious national symbol of Mongolia

Filled with mysterious colors, Soyombo is the name of a national symbol of Mongolia, appearing on the National Flag, National Emblem as well as many important works in this country.

In Mongolian culture, Soyombo is a sacred character in the Soyombo alphabet. This special alphabet was invented in 1686 by Zanabazar – a holy monk in Mongolian Buddhism. The name “Soyombo” is derived from the Sanskrit word svayambhu, meaning “self-created”.

Decoding the mysterious national symbol of Mongolia
The Soyombo symbol is composed of ten abstract geometric elements.

The Soyombo symbol is made up of ten abstract geometric elements, representing everything in the traditional Mongolian worldview. Those elements include: Fire, sun, moon, two triangles, two horizontal rectangles, tai chi (yin – yang) and two vertical rectangles.

In Soyombo, the fire element symbolizes growth, eternity, wealth and success. The three tongues of fire represent the three times: Past, present and future. The sun and moon elements imply that the country of Mongolia will last forever like the eternal blue sky. The symbols of fire, sun, and moon originate from the ancient Xiongnu culture.

The two triangles represent arrows or spears. Their pointed tips pointed down as an affirmation that both domestic and foreign enemies had been defeated.

The two horizontal rectangles represent the honesty and justice of the Mongols regardless of the upper class or the poor in society. The two vertical rectangles are the walls of the fortress, representing unity and strength, related to a Mongolian proverb: “Two people’s friendship is stronger than stone walls”.

Soyombo has been considered the national symbol of Mongolia since 1911, when it was first included in the National Flag. Today this symbol can be seen in many places in Mongolia, the most prominent of which is the Zaisan memorial on the outskirts of the capital Ulaanbaatar…