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Mongol Uls

Last modified: 2010-01-16 by victor lomantsov
Keywords: mongolia | asia | soyonbo |
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[Flag of Mongolia, according Album 2000] by Željko Heimer
Proportions: 1:2 [FIS Code]
Flag adopted 1992-FEB-12, coat of arms adopted 1992-JAN-15

see also:

National flag

The flag was adopted by new Constitution of 13 January 1992. The Constitution come into force on 12 February 1992. Ratio 1:2 according to Album 2000
Željko Heimer, 29 June 2002

The books I have depict the flames in "soyombo" as of almost equal height; a bit like a rose.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 July 2002

I noticed yesterday during a televised UN press conference the flag of Mongolia, clearly shown behind. It had the star above the emblem; like pre-1992 flag. The question is.. has Mongolia reverted to its former design..or is it another UN error?
J.J.Andersson, 2 October 2002

Mongolian Constitution about state symbols

The Constitution of Mongolia was adopted on 13 January 1992 and came into force on 12 February 1992.

Chapter One. Sovereignty of the State
Article 12
1. The symbols of the independence and sovereignty of Mongolia are the State Emblem, Standard, Flag, Seal and the Anthem.
2. The State Emblem, Standard, Flag and the Anthem shall express the historical tradition, aspiration, unity, justice and spirit of the people of Mongolia.
3. The State Emblem shall be based on the white lotus of purity. The outer frame shall be the "Tumen Nusan" of eternity in the shape of a blue sphere symbolizing the eternal sky. In the centre shall be a combination of the Golden Soyombo and the Treasured Steed, an expression of the independence, sovereignty and spirit of Mongolia In the upper part is the Chandmani which grants wishes and symbolizes the past, present and future.
In the lower part shall be a green background of mountains representing Mother Earth and the Wheel of Destiny. Mixed in with the Wheel of Destiny shall be a "khadag" - scarf symbolizing welcome.
4. The traditional Great White Standard representing the unified Mongolian State is a State ceremonial attribute.
5. The State Flag shall be divided vertically into three equal parts coloured red, blue and red. The three stripes, of identical width, shall be blue for the eternal sky in the middle, and red, the symbol of progress and prosperity, for the two stripes on either side. The golden Soyombo shall be depÓcted in the centre of the red stripe nearest to the flag pole. The ratio of the width to the length of the Flag shall be 1:2.
6. The State Seal, having a lion-shaped handle, shall be square in form. It shall have the State Emblem in the centre and the words "Mongol Uls" [Mongolia] written on both sides. The holder of the State Seal shall be the President.
7. The procedure for the ceremonial use of the State symbols and the text and melody of the State Anthem shall be prescribed by law.

Chapter Three. Structure of the State
Part I. The Legislature
Article 23 [Responsability, Mandate]
2. The mandate of a member of the National Parliament begins with an oath taken before the State Emblem and expires when newly elected members of the National Parliament are sworn in.

Source: Vagnat & Poels (2000). Constitutions - What they tell us about national flags and coats of arms.
Ivan Sache, 14 September 2003

Construction sheet

[Construction sheet of soyombo] by Željko Heimer

There is a letter from Mongolian Embassy in London to the Flag Institute, Jos Poels, that Chris Southworth had access to (and which he kindly shared with me) and that includes consturction details of the Mongolain national flag. The letter says that the consturction sheets (of the flag and the COA) are taken from the 1992 Mongolian Constitution (is that so? I doubt that a constitution would include such detailed specifications). beside the flag there is also much more detailed construction sheet of the national COA (emblem) that is way to complicated for me right now. Anyway, let's take a look at the flag.

The entire flag is sized 60x120 units, each vertical stripe so being 40 units long horizontally.
The yellow emblem is within a virtual rectangle 45x22 units that is offset to the top - i.e. the distance from the top of the flag to the top of the flames is 6 units, white the diestance from the bottom of the yellow emblem to the bottom of the flag is 9 units. The two vetrical yellow collums are 24x5 units each, the elements between them are all 10 units long horizontally, one unit between each, triangle 3 unit high, rectangles 2 unit high and the yin-yang 10 units in diameter. Two dots are 2 units in diameter, 2.35 units from the top viz. the bottom. The red line dividing two helves is 0.5 unit wide.
The crescent is composed of two arches of circles, lower 5.5 units in radius and upper of 6 units, the two centers are vertically distanced 2.5 unit (i.e it makes the crescent 2 unit wide at the bottom). The sun disk is 4 units in radius, the top to match with the top of the circle forming the lower arch of the crescent. The flames are formed of a lower helf circle 2.5 units in radius the central flame reching 5.5 from the center of the lower half circle. The two small circles 1 unit in diameter form the lower gaps between the flames. The remainder of the wavy form of the flames is not further defined (the outer flcames seems to reach about 3 units from the center of the half-circle.
Željko Heimer, 16 July 2003


I was reading the history of Mongolia tonight, and from what I read it seems that Mongolia gained (or declared) its first independence in 1911, about the same time as Dr Sun Yat-sen led the revolution which overthrew the Ching Dynasty of China. Four years later in 1915, the status was degraded to self-government. And once again in 1921, the status was even withdrawn, under military threat from Chinese troops, to be simply an administrative district.

Nevertheless, with "aid" from "white Russian" troops, Mongolia declared its second independence, but this newly independent country lasted for only five months. It was totally crushed by the Soviet red army, and then the Mongolian state that we know today was set up.
Michael Wang, 25 April 1997

Russian general-lieutenant baron Roman Ungern-Sternberg, chief of mongolian cavalry, was in fact the dictator of Mongolia since 1920. On 3, February, 1921 mongolian troops of Ungern-Sternberg occuried the capital of Mongolia (city of Urga). Soon they were banished by communist troops of Sukhe-Bator. On 8, July, 1921 government of Sukhe-Bator went to Urga. Soldiers of Ungern-Sternberg had the yellow banners with 'soyombo' since 1911. These banners were 'semi-national' flags of mongols.
Victor Lomantsov, 4 April 2001

I am attempting to find a picture of the Mongolian flag that was flow with/under Gen. Ungern in 1911-1920. I do know it was a yellow square with orange border and 3 streamers.
Robert Hammond, 21 August 2003

The yellow square with orange border and streamers was used 1911 to 1919. See the World Statesmen website for graphics.
Ned Smith, 22 August 2003

According to Alfred Znamierowski:

The basic design of the flag dates from 1940. In 1992 the star surmonting the emblem was removed and the design of the Soyonbo, an ancient Mongol symbol, was modified.

Caption under the flag:

Introduced 12 February 1992. Proportions 1:2.

Source: Znamierowski, Alfred. The World Encyclopedia of Flags
Nicolas Rucks, 15 January 2000

The blue shade of Mongolian flags is given very differently in various sources, ranging from a very plae blue to very dark royal blue. I guess that there is no really regualtions demanding one of the other, and that any blue does the job.
Željko Heimer, 29 June 2002


"The soyombo (or soyemba) is the national emblem of Mongolia. Its origins are closely associated with Lamaism, and the various elements of the design were regarded as having mystical meanings. Individually, parts of the design also may be related to brands of ownership placed on horses and cattle. The star at the top of the modern soyombo is a recent addition to the traditional symbol; it represents socialist revolution. Below that, a fire symbol has multiple significance. It represents revival and growth, and also the family hearth and the continuity of the people. The fire has three tongues of flame, symbolizing past, present, and future. Below the fire are symbols of the sun and moon, links to the pre-Buddhist nature religion of the Mongols. In ancient Mongolian symbolism, an arrow or spear pointing to the ground meant death. In the soyombo, two downward-pointing triangles signify death to the enemies of the Mongols. Two horizontal rectangles represent honesty and fairness between rulers and the people. Set between the two horizontal rectangles is the Chinese sign of yin and yang, representing dark and light, fenale and male, cold and hot - the unity of all opposites in the cosmos. In Mongolian symbolism, the figures in the yin-yang circle represent two fish which, because fish never close their eyes, signify reason and wisdom. The two vertical rectangles represent a fortress, recalling the old Mongolian proverb "The friendship of two men is stronger than stone walls." The symbol of the fortress signifies that the unity of the Mongol people is the foundation of the nation's strength. The soyombo was adopted as the official symbol of the Mongolian People's Republic by the first People's Great Khural in 1924. A golden soyombo is emblazoned on the left panel of Mongolia's blue-and-red national flag."
From: 'The Land and People of Mongolia', by John S. Major, New York, 1990. (p. 183)
Jarig Bakker, 12 April 2000

The ornament in the hoist is called the soyonbo, Mongolia's national symbol. In the communist era it was capped by a gold five-pointed star.
David Kendall, 11 October 1996

Former State flag 1949-1992

[Flag of Mongolia, 1949-1992, according W.Smith] by David Martucci and Željko Heimer

The flag of Mongol People`s Republic was adopted officially on 23, February, 1949. Colours meaning: red - revolution, sky-blue - sky. Ratio - 1:2. The description of the flag was included in article 106 of Constitution.
Victor Lomantsov, 22 April 2001

Smith, 1982 [smi82]:"Officially confirmed 23 Feb 1949"
Željko Heimer, 10 July 2002

Inglefield writes in Vlaggen [ing79b?]:

"In the stripe along the hoist stands a golden star, the symbol of the communist party, with below that the old traditional symbol of Mongolia, the /soyonobo/ ... . The two symbols together represent the ideology of communism, gand in hand with the traditional way of life and thinking of Mongolia. This flag was officially adopted in 1940."


"The 'badge' on the flag of Mongolia combines the star of communism with the traditional Soyonobo symbol. The flame means progress, the sun and moon an everlasting existence, the small triangles a warning for the enemy, the bars honesty and strength, the ying and yang emblem vigilance." (translated by P.H.v.d.Muijzenberg)

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 July 2002

Politikens Flagbook [pik00] has:

"The current state flag has replaced the red flag of the revolution in 1940. Until 12.2.1992 the star of communism sat over the /soyonbo/ . ..." (translated by P.H.v.d.Muijzenberg)

The explanation of the symbolism has the three flame tongues for past, present, and future, the sun and moon for the predecessors of the Mogolians, the horizontal bars vigilance required from everyone in society, the "fishes" for vigilance, as fishes never sleep, and the upright columns for the proverb "Two friends are stonger then stone. (Also, it neglects to explain the triangles.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 July 2002

Former flag, 1924-1940

[Former Monglian flag] by Željko Heimer 24 April 1996

This flag was adopted 26 November 1924 when the People's Republic was proclaimed. William Crampton's The World of Flags shows a picture of this flag with some diferences. The first soyonbo was used in blue on the yellow flag of 1911, and was more complex.
Mark Sensen, 24 April 1996

The ratio as drawn in Flaggenbuch [neu92] is about 5:9~, but there is no indication if that was somehow regulated.
Željko Heimer, 29 June 2002

In Flaggenbuch 1932 [neu32] the lower element is less wild; more like a fan or an abstract flower.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 July 2002

The lower element of 'soyombo' (variant 1924) is flowers of lotus, symbol of victory. I read that lotus was added to 'soyombo' after the victory of Mongolian and soviet troops at Khalkhin-Gol (1939), but I am not sure.
Victor Lomantsov, 22 April 2001

This flag was adopted on 26 November 1924 and abolished on 30 June 1940. Source: William Crampton, World of Flags.
Jaume Ollé, September 1997

The illustrated flag handbook - Maria Costantino, 2001, has this flag as being adopted 12 February 1912, and has:

"At the top is a fire symbol, representing the family hearth and the Mongolian people, its three flames signifying the past, present, and future. Below this are symbols of the sun and moon, referring to Mongolia's Shamanistic traditions.Two triangles represent arrows or spears poiting to the ground, denoting "death to enemies," while two rectangles represent a fortress and symbolize Mongolia's strength as a nation. In Mongolian symbolism, the yiin-yang circle that appears within the emblem represents a fish, signifying reason and wisdom (becasue fish nver close their eyes). This emblem was placed centrally on the flag between 1924 and 1940, being moved to the hoist during the period of communist rule, when a socialist star, along with a central blue stripe, was added. The star was removed in 1992."
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 July 2002

"Soyombo", the symbol on Mongolian flag was always yellow since 1924. In the wed site it was shown blue. It is called "Golden Soyombo".
Mash O.Sarlagtay, 24 April 2006

Merchant flag (modern)

Ships on the Mongolian register (reesteblished in recent years) fly the normal national flag as an ensign, not the old Merchant Ensign (on the page
David Asprey, 14 March 2004

Merchant flag in "Flaggenbuch"

[Mongolian merchant flag] by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch 1939 also provides a merchant flag: yellow flag with red saltire and blue soyombo in the middle. The red saltire is "broken" where the soyombo is (i.e. is not "seen though" the soyombo, rather the yellow background is).
Željko Heimer 29 June 2003

"Soyombo" was incorrectly drawn in the merchant flag, (indeed, I did not know we have a merchant flag). It is also blue. That is most likely be a yellow "soyombo" on blue shield.
Mash O.Sarlagtay, 24 April 2006

Flags of 1921 and baron Ungern-Sternberg flags

[1921 Mongolian flag re-creation] by Victor Lomantsov

A flag known to have been used in 1921 was red with a half moon pointed up and a ball above. According to Flaggenmitteilung an Imperial (Hutuktu) flag was in use in 1921 (first time?). This was square yellow, bordered orange, and with three rectangular wings of fabric on the fly side.
Jaume Ollé, 23 April 1997

In 1921 Provisional Government of Outer Mongolia adopted the red flag with yellow ball and crescent. We don`t know they were at the centre or they were in canton. We have no images of this flag. We only have reconstruction of the flag (with the figures near the hoist) made in 1920ths.
Victor Lomantsov, 4 April 2001

[1921 comics with baron Ungern flag]comics by Hugo Pratt, located by Jan Mertens

A link to 'World Statesmen' leads us to the "Feb - 15 Sep 1921 Flag of Baron Ungern-Sternberg" (de facto ruler of Mongolia in 1921), yellowish-orange with a black 'U-' like figure on it: and here we see it again, in a comic at
Back to flags: a very thick 'U' here compared to the 'World Statesmen' version. What may be the right one... What did it symbolize - surely not 'Ungern'?
Jan Mertens, 15 March 2005

I wonder what primary documentation exists on this flag? Your message has led me to wonder if the flag is nothing more than the product of a comic book artist's imagination (and yes the U might have stood for Ungern in that case). What was the publication date of that comic, and are there any reports of the flag which predate that?
On the other hand, if my mild skepticism is misplaced and the flag actually existed, perhaps the U is just the result of trying to reconstruct an image from a sketchy verbal description- maybe there was a yellow or orange flag with a horizontal black crescent such as the horizontal crescents appearing in the soyonbo and on other Mongolian flags.
Ned Smith, 16 March 2005

The yellow flag with the huge U on it is the sign of the "Asiatic Cavalry Division" led by Baron Roman Federovitch Ungern Sternberg. This was the last unit of the anti-Bolshevik White Army.
In February 1921 the division took the town of Urga (now Oulan-Bator = town of red heroes). Ungern was seen by inhabitants as the god of war and the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.
The flag specification is gold with a black horse shoe in the center. The U or horse shoe stands for Ungern, leader of the state. He was executed by the Communists on 17 September 1921. The comic book by Hugo Pratt uses historical facts.
Zachary Fois, 22 November 2006

Flag(s) might have been used by Baron Ungern-Sternberg and the Asian Cavalry Division during the Baron's 1921 occupation of Mongolia:
The book "The Bloody White Baron" by James Palmer (New York:Basic Books; 2009) makes a several short mentions of flags used during the Ungern-Sternberg invasion and occupation of Outer Mongolia.
(Page 129)- "The banners under which the army rode were nearly as varied as the soldiers themselves but two symbols were particularly important. One was a curly capital M with II below it and a crown above. This stood for Michael II, the missing but, Ungern hoped, future monarch of Russia" [This was the Grand Duke Michael, younger brother of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. Unknown to Ungern-Sternberg Michael had already been murdered by the Bolsheviks]... "One surviving banner shows this symbol on one side and the face of Christ on the other; the colour, however, was Buddhist Yellow, thus appealing to both aspects of Ungern's beliefs. The other popular symbol was the swastika, often matched with the Mongolian soyombo. This was, of course, an old and valued Buddhist motif, but Ungern would also have been aware of its anti-Semitic interpretation, as would most of the Whites."
Palmer makes no mention of the supposed flag with a horseshoe which we show- I can't help wondering if that could have been based on a fleeting view and misinterpretation of the M above II flags? Of course if so, then the horseshoe would have to subsequently be inverted to get the image as we show it.
(Page 163) [describing the victory celebration after Ungern-Sternberg drove the Chinese out of Urga, and restored the Bogd Khan (Holy King), or "Living Buddha", to power] "In their centre was a horse-drawn wooden pyramid on a cart, from which a huge flag rose. On it, woven in gold thread, was the soyombo, a national symbol of Mongolia, created by the first Bogd Gegen." [Bogd Gegen- "Holy Shining One" was an alternative title for the Bogh Khan. The Bogd in 1921 was the eighth; the first lived 1635-1723.]
(Page 178-179) [regarding the Mongolian communist forces which defeated Ungern-Sternberg] "Their first unit, formed on 17 February [1921], consisted of twenty horsemen riding under two yellow-and-red banners. The red was for communism, the yellow for Buddhism."
Palmer's book seems well-researched. He lists a large bibliography of sources consulted, and he documents many of his statements. Unfortunately, he has not cited sources for the above statements regarding the flags, other than the vague mention of a surviving flag with the M II symbol.
Ned Smith, 10 August 2010

Flag of Bogd Khan Kingdom of Mongolia (1911, 1912)

[Flag of Bogd Khan Kingdom] by Mash O.Sarlagtay

I send you Bogd Khan Kingdom of Mongolia flag. The Kingdom officially declared its independence in December 29, 1911 from Manchu Qing Dynasty in China. By the way, it is the last flag that have drawn soyombo in old religeous colors. Since 1924, standard verion of soyombo on the flags became "Golden".
Mash O.Sarlagtay, 24 April 2006

[Mongolian Independence Bogd Khan Kingdom flag, 1912] by Željko Heimer and Eugene Ipavec

Image of Mongolian Independence Bogd Khan Kingdom flag, 1912, made after Nozomi Kariyasu photos made in Mongolian Military Museum in Uran Bator in June 2008.

Mongolian Army Flag, 1911

[1911 Mongolian Army flag] by Eugene Ipavec

Image made after Nozomi Kariyasu photos made in Mongolian Military Museum in Uran Bator in June 2008 (shown sinister-hoisted to preserve the writing).

Aircraft marking

[Mongolian aircraft marking] by Ivan Sache

Mongolian air marking is yellow bordered red 5 point star bearing yellow soyonbo (according a real photo of mongolian fighter). The top of the soyonbo in the air marking is not a flame but a yellow 5-pointed star and two eyes and center line are not yellow but black.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 6 December 2003

[cos98] reports that between 1936 and 1992 the mongolian markings were red stars on wings and red "zoyombo" on the tail. Since 1992, a new roundel is adopted which is red star bordered in yellow charged with yellow "zoyombo",
Insignia ( images from 1993 in which MiG-21PFM with: "A Red Mongolian Zoyombo insignia is used on the fin sides only. " and Mil Mi-24 with: "A Yellow Mongolian Zoyombo insignia has been superimposed over a Soviet Red star. The star is outlined with a Yellow rule."
See also
It is reported ( and that all fighters are frounded and the only combat planes in use are four Mi-24's. Transport planes are operated by MIAT under its livery.
Government planes having an emblem on tail and national flag on fusalage.
Dov Gutterman, 20 June 2004

I have compared the new [bry85] with the known sources, and here my remark:
Mongolia - a red star in red ring (rays touchung the rings)
Dov Gutterman, 6 July 2004