Each time I reread it, I find new meaning…

Maria P.Petrova

Saint Petersburg State University, Russia



...However, today we can mention the development of the psychological orientation of modern literature. Mongolian writers pay attention to the inner world of a human being, his feelings, emotions and the state of his soul. One of these authors is Gun-AajavynAyurzana (born1970). He is an author of postmodern trilogy, which includes such novels as "Mirage"[1] (2003), "The Duty of Ten Dreams" [2](2005), "Born by Echo" [3](2007). A significant event in literary and cultural life of the country was publishing of Ayuurzan’s novels "Shamanic Legend"[4] (2010) and "Shugden"[5] (2012).

In 2014 he publishes his novel "White, Black, Red." [6]This time, the author refers to the analysis of philosophical and psychological aspects of creativity. His character - a successful artist - tries to understand the nature of inspiration.The very title of the novel contains the names of the sacred colors in Mongolian culture. These three colors, as evidenced by many researchers, is a universal color triad and recorded as the main structure of the Mongolian peoplesworld ."Black and white are very important colours in Mongolian culture. Their names are often found in onomastics andtoponymy. One can mention quite definitely the existence of white and black binary opposition, matching the opposition good-bad, "- writes the famous anthropologist N.L.Zhukovskaya. [7]With the help of color social, emotional and moral concepts can be expressed. According to N.L.Zhukovskaya, the greatest capacity and wealth of specific shades, that cover the most diverse spheres of life, has a white color. First of all, this applies to milk and dairy products. But milk as well as meat forms the basis of the nomadic nutrition, but also acts as a kind of symbol of social relations in Mongolian society. The black color is the opposite of white. It involves all negative - evil, dark, ill, unhappy, profane. Red color is related to the fire, including the flames of the hearth home. Five major types of livestock (sheep, goat, cow, horse, camel) is called red meat food. Red and white are often used in national ornaments. In general, we can say that the folk culture of the Mongols tends heightened perception of color and empowering individual colors with stable symbolic connotations, forming clearly defined semantic fields.[8]

The protagonist of the novel "White, Black, Red"  is an artist named Rentsenra, middle-aged, received an excellent European education in Moscow, not divorced, but in the divorcing process with his wife, has  a son of sixteen, is rich enough. Today an artist in Mongolia is not a poor person. Rentsenra’sfatheris khalkh and mother is  torgut[9] from BulgansomonKhovdaimag. This is the Mongolian Altai territory in the west of the country. Rentsenra spent hischildhood there, and during his first seven years he lived with his grandparents on his mother's side.

The novel's plot intonation is the arrival of the artist to his native land Khovdaimag, where he hadn’t been for  more than thirty years. Purpose of the visit  is creation of a canvas, depicting three mountains of white, black and red colors. In his way to KhovdaimagRentsenrameets with the mystical phenomenon - in the porthole he seesflying byGreen Daraehe - female deity of the Buddhist pantheon, who helps to carry good wishes. An image of a beautiful goddess will accompany the hero throughout the novel. It will form the basis of metaphysical component of the plot, along with the dream of the protagonist.

"Almost the first time since he could remember Rentsenra clearly realized that torgut blood flows in his veins. And where if not in the Altai mountainsthe real hills are to be situated? "And why I look like a man who is constantly looking for something?" - writes G.Ayurzana.[10]

Bulgansomon in Mongolia is considered the only place where you can meet realzhangarchi- performers of the Oiratheroic national historical epos "Dzhangar." This is a story about a country of prosperity and happiness BumbaOron?heroic deeds of its heroes, imbued with the spirit of patriotism. Rentsenra’s great-grandfather Sochor was one of the last known zhangarchi. This fact becomes known to the artist just by the arrival to his nutug.[11] There Rentsenra accidentally meets his former classmate at Surikov Moscow State Academy Art InstituteMende, torgut folk researcher from Inner Mongolia[12]Odrog and a foreign couple - Desmond from the US Peace Corps and his girlfriend Penelope  as well as with a local oldzhangarchiNamarzhaguay.[13] Each character introduced by the author to a certain extent is a type, representative of a social stratum of modern society. And all together they form a socio-cultural environment of the artist’screative personality. Relations between the main and secondary characters in the novel are largely determined by its relationship to the world, form its stance.

In "White, Black, Red," the author clearly holds storyline. It is divided into several plot motives that can be decomposed into three main colors in the title. "White"  is related to the native land, memories of childhood, the elderly,torgut legends and stories, epos "Dzhangar" and zhangarchi. "Black" is related to the illicit trade that Mende and his associates dug out of tombs and burial mounds in steppe, illicit enrichment, to a certain extent with Rentsenra’s intention to buy a desert island in the ocean of the money raised from the sale of paintings at the international exhibition. "Red" - theme of love, personal life, relationship with the Montenegriangirl Penelope. Each of the motives hasits development and influences the artist’s creative process.

"White" or bright, positive motives are accompanied by historical and heroic epos"Dzhangar " performance of  old Namarzhaguay. His image is the key, and the relationship with the main character is defined as vital and creative position of the artist. Namarzha guay was familiar with Rentsenra’s family. The old man tells the artist about his great-grandfather Sochorguay, who determined the fate of Namarzhaguaymany years ago. Rentsenra begins to paint a portrait of an old man with the image of white, black and red mountains.The title of his  diptychis "Mountains".The work is goingon to the accompaniment of  tovshuur[14] and execution of excerpts from "Dzhangar." "Now for Rentsenrathe world of epic tales became so close and familiar, and hearing of " Dzhangar "seemed more important than the process of writing a portrait of an old man." [15]Tovshuur sounds turned in colors on his canvases .

"He thought of the land where you can still hear the" Dzhangar. "In thousand years rain doesn’t stop here, in thousand years wind doesn’t pick up,  in these lands nothing ever changes. When you listen tales here  youprobably enter the world of legends. Whether time and space disappear in the vastness of these lands? "- reflects Rentsenra.[16]

Communication with his homeland, its nature and people, history, legends and traditions, colors and sounds  isthe core, the basis of the creative personality of the artist. This rod can not disappear or betray. It lies at the heart of the creative personality‘screative way.

"Black" motives of the plot, on the contrary, are associated with treachery, deceit, lies, destruction. Binary opposition "black and white", "bad-good" is fully realized  here. "Black" motives  of the narrative are concentrated in the image of  the artist's classmate Mende. Pragmatic and greedy man, he shamelessly uses the stories of local old people to find places where they can be buried antiquities. With the metal detector, he and his staff go over the steppe  and dug out burial mounds and ancient things to sell them for good money on the antiquesblack market . His classmate Rentsenra Mende also uses for his own purposes –cunningly forces him to make an ancient sword. And Rentsenraagrees inorder to get a small bronze trough that once belonged to his grandfather. "Black" motives are not accompanied by any sounds, their vector is destructive, destructive to any individual (Mende, for example, disappears somewhere), especially for a  creative person.

"Red" colors  are connected with love line of the novel. G.Ayurzana leads his hero through a family relationship. However, the basis of the "red" motives is artist’s  love for the young Montenegrian girl Penelope , who lives in Switzerland. Here are the sounds of western tunes - Frank Sinatra, Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman, opera "Sorrows of Werther" by J.Massenet.  Moreover, these tunes sound mainly recorded on the so-called electronic media. The motif of the "red area" can not be called strictly constructive or destructive. Meeting with Penelope, Rentsenrais experiencing a new emotional lift, implemented in creative process. Driven by his new love painter comes to the Swiss city of Zurich, where he experiences a real personal drama. Rentsenrafinds his beloved in a mental clinic, where she gets after the assassination of her husband - the very Desmond  fromAmerican Peace Corps. The artist visits Penelope every day, writes her portrait, but soon realizes that their relationship has no future.

"- Well, what to do ... Life is a cruel thing, again and again make you upset, and even despairs you. I wish that all this does not get you down to a hail of inevitable blows of fate, your hope is never gone, so you will not shed tears of self-pity that you do not dry up yourself. My visa is ending soon. But you stay alone with this song. And it's just a song. Wordswritten by someone, melody composed by someone ... "- so Rentsenra says goodbye to his beloved and flies from Zurich to Mongolia.[17]

From the epilogue we learn that the artist returnshome ,begins to communicate with her son and seriously thinks about the resumption of relations with his ex-wife. The old man Namarzhaguaydies in his native land, but his portrait painted by the artist takes the main place among the paintings at Rentsenra’spersonal exhibition. However, idle public does not care about the feelings and emotions of the painter, connected with this canvas. "- Just think about how to find some drawing larger than this, but quickly agree on a price. You know, without this artist'sdrawings  house -  is not a house ...

Rentsenra’sshoulders slumped. And suddenly his eyes darkened. "[18]

The author leaves the reader in doubt, probably giving him a chance to think out the ending. By simulating the inner world of a creative personality, G.Ayurzanapresentsmain character’s image in dynamics, determines the place of the artist in the typology of the other characters as well as the  in modern society. Artistic means and techniques of the author are external (psychological profiles, actions, external speech, direct author's reflections) and inner (reflection, inner speech) form.  Color and sound in the novel "White, Black, Red," can be considered as the most important elements of socio-cultural code of the narrarive.

Moreovereach novelby G.Ayurzanais a kind of guide to a particular sphere of Mongolianlife. Postmodern trilogy "Mirage", "Debt of Ten Dreams" and "Born by Echo" reveals the world of "The Secret History of the Mongols." Novel "The Shamanic Legend" concerns the spiritual and material aspects of shaman‘slife. "Shugden" plunges into the ocean of Buddhism, Lamaism and explains that there is a cult of angry Buddhist deity Shugden. In the novel "White, Black, Red," the author introduces history and culture of  theTorguts, zhangarchi performing artand epos  "Dzhangar." To our mind, G.Ayurzana contributes to the continuation of Mongolian literature of medieval typedidactic tradition. Every work of this talented author – is a certain contribution to the formation of the Mongolian, in the broadest sense of the word, picture of the world. And a new novel by G.Ayurzana" VesselsSound" [19]has already become a cultural event of Mongolia in 2015.

[1]АюурзанаГ. Илбэзэрэглээ.УБ.,2003

[2]Аюурзана Г. Арванзʏʏднийɵр. УБ.,2005

[3]АюурзанаГ. Цуурайнаастɵрɵгсɵд. УБ.,2007

[4]Аюурзана Г. Бɵɵгийндомог. УБ.,2010

[5]Аюрузана Г. Шүгдэн. УБ.,2012

[6]Аюрузана Г. Цагаан, хар, улаан. УБ.,2014


[7]Жуковская Н.Л. Кочевники Монголии. Культура, традиции, симовлика. М.,2002, стр.194.

[8]Op.cit. pp.202-216

[9]Torgut – an oiratsub-ethnic group, one of the Western Mongol tribe.

[10]Аюрузана Г. Цагаан, хар, улаан. УБ.,2014, x.26

[11]Nutug – small motherland.

[12]Inner Mongolia - Autonomous Region in China

[13]Guay–polite appeal

[14]Tovshuur – Mongolian musical bowl shaped instrument with two or three strings.

[15]Аюрузана Г. Цагаан, хар, улаан. УБ.,2014, x.109

[16]Op.cit. p.130

[17]Аюрузана Г. Цагаан, хар, улаан. УБ.,2014, x.196

[18]Op.cit. p.223

[19]Аюрузана Г. Судаснычимээ. УБ., 2015