Genghis Khan: The Exhibition at the Reagan Library

Spectacular exhibit on view through Aug. 19, 2018
Representation of Shangdu (Xanadu) from "Genghis Khan" | Photo courtesy of Reagan Library

What do pants, the pony express, cannons, paper money, skis, violins, baklava and “hooray!” have in common? Answer: Genghis Khan introduced them all to the West. Not Genghis the brutal barbarian of Western history books, but Genghis the great civilizer, law-maker, and democratizer, whose empire brought each of these innovations to the West.

Now on view through Aug. 19, 2018, the most comprehensive exhibition of Genghis Khan and his treasures invades the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for its only Southern California stop on an international tour that has drawn more than a million visitors. The exhibition features loans by private collectors from Mongolia, Azerbaijan and the United States.

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Mongolian armored warrior and horse from "Genghis Khan" | Photo courtesy of Reagan Library

Named "The Man of the Millennium" by TIME Magazine and CNN, Genghis’s reputation as the greatest conqueror is well-deserved – he dominated three times more land in his lifetime than either Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, a conquest attested to by the formidable array of swords, bows, arrows, saddles and armor included on display in Genghis Khan. In fact, the historic exhibition showcases hundreds of artifacts from Genghis’s 13th century Empire, the largest such collection ever to tour.

As visitors will discover, Genghis not only created the nation of Mongolia and its written language, but his lineage established the modern borders of nations from India to Iran, Korea to China as well as opened the trade routes that united East and West forever.

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Cutaway of furnished ger from "Genghis Khan" | Photo courtesy of Reagan Library

Visitors will experience the exhibition through the eyes of a Mongolian resident, receiving a civilian identity card at the beginning of their journey. From warrior to spy to princess, follow this character’s life throughout the rise of the great Mongol Empire.

Discover the daily life of a nomad on the high plateaus of Central Asia and learn about the outcast Genghis Khan’s earliest struggles.

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Crossbow from "Genghis Khan" | Photo courtesy of Reagan Library

Learn how the young, charismatic Genghis Khan united warring tribes in order to form an unrivaled cavalry. Explore the equestrian culture and innovations in weaponry that Genghis Khan mastered to conquer three times more land than any Empire in history.

Explore the vital trade route along the Silk Road which enabled the exchange of both goods and ideas between cultures. Enter the sumptuous Chinese palace of Xanadu, the center of the Empire of Genghis’s grandson, Kublai, who united China for the first time. Trace the influence of Genghis Khan in images of modern Mongolian life.

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Display from "Genghis Khan" | Photo courtesy of Reagan Library

Curated and developed by dinosaur expert Don Lessem, the exhibition features more than 200 spectacular objects on display, including rare and sophisticated weapons, costumes, jewels, ornaments, instruments and numerous other fascinating relics and elaborate artifacts from 13th-century Mongolia.

“I went to Mongolia to look for fossils and discovered the truth about Genghis Khan, a civilizing genius,” said Lessem. “It’s a great story best told in a major exhibition.” 

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition is now on view through Aug. 19, 2018. For more info, visit the Reagan Library website.