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The Khan’s Drinking Fountain

- April 4, 2019 in airag, alcohol, Art & Illustrations, ayrag, Culture & History, drinking, empire, fermented mare's milk, fountain, kumis, Möngke khan, mongol empire

Of all the things described in William of Rubruck’s account of his travels through 13th-century Asia, perhaps none is so striking as the remarkably ornate fountain he encountered in the Mongol capital which — complete with silver fruit and an angelic automaton — flowed with various alcoholic drinks for the grandson of Genghis Khan and guests. Devon Field explores how this so-called Silver Tree of Karakoum became a potent symbol, not only of the Mongol Empire’s imperial might, but also its downfall.