Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign (1)

Aobaos, which are conical mass of stones in the open grasslands of Inner Monogolia, certainly look “foreign” to me.

Aobao was born as a landmark for the grasslands. They were  used to signify the border or to demarcate cities. After the era of Genghis Khan, people admired and yearned for brave heroes who died at the war front. They then made Aobaos as tombs and inserted their swords or axes, which they used when they were still alive, atop the Aobaos.

Later on,  Aobao became a place for sacrifice to the mountain god, the road god and the war-god.

And now, the Aobao’s most important use is for sacrifice. People always sacrifice the best corn, meet, fruit and alcohol to Aobao and pray for good weather, good harvest and good fortune.

Every summer, herdsmen will come to the Aobaos with their offerings. At this time, the Aobaos are decorated with pure white scarves or hadas at the center of the Aobao and colorful pieces of cloth around it and beautiful ethnic dances will be performed around them.

Aobaos are also symbolic things. It is also a place for dating for the young people as Aobaos are now considered romantic meeting places.