Mujaan — An Oasis of Cultural Riches
Chris McKee, Director/Producer

Mujaan (The Craftsman) is a vivid window to a way of life in Mongolia, featuring the traditional construction of a ger and includes insights into Mongolian, culture, music and food...

Mongolian nomads eat mostly meat and milk they receive from their herds. In the spring, herd animals are thin, from living without much grass throughout the dry, cold winter. Many also give birth at this time, so that their babies can grow during the summer, when grass is plentiful.

Mongolians therefore prepare dried meat and milk in the fall for the spring, in order to increase their herds and eat the animals when they are their healthiest. A family of seven can live off the slaughter of one sheep for one to three weeks, depending on how much flour, potatoes or rice they may be able to eat with it.

In an effort to prevent the loss of blood, which is filled with vital nutrients, and reduce the suffering of the animal, Mongolians have devised a method for slaughtering sheep that appears horrific to most Westerners. A hole is cut in its chest, to reach inside and stop the blood flow to the brain by squeezing the heart until it stops beating or pinching the aorta.

This method does not work for the slaughter of goats or cows that are too stubborn or too big to be held down like the sheep. For those animals, and in the rare cases when Mongolians eat horse, camel or yak, Mongolians first stun the animal. After a slaughter, Mongolians eat or make use of most of the animal’s body, including the stomach, intestine, face meat and brains.

As seen in the movie of Mujaan, Sukhbaatar de-bones a marmot; stuffs it with wild garlic, salt and hot rocks; sews the hole shut; roasts it over a fire; and burns the remaining hair off with a hot metal rod. You can hear the squeal of hot gas as Sukhbaatar pries the stitches open so the carcass does not burst. The meat can be tough, fatty, and gamy, but most Mongolians love it.

Mujaan - Shorts
These shorts were edited by Amy Reed from the same thirty-five hours of footage as Mujaan.

They focus on specific elements from the documentary. They're also included in the special features on the DVD.

© Chris McKee. All rights reserved. The download of this movie for private use only. Contact for licensing Chris McKee, phone 415-613-4729, email:

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