Obstetric Services in Ancient Mongolia

Ancient rock paintings, found in Mongolia give a glimpse into the life of the people, their struggles, their armaments and tools, in addition to their view on the world, religion, culture, traditions, and animals movements. For instance: D.Dorj (1962-1975), A.P.Okladnikov (1969- 70, 1980) D.Tserendorj (1983-1990), N.Ser-Odjav (1987), T.Namjil (1996, 2007), B.Ankhbayar (2005) masterpieces could be mentioned as above. The works of T.Namjil (1996, 2007) and B.Ankhbayar (2005), respectively, explain the emergence of families and development of reproductive health, as found in these rock paintings. The history of ancient science in Mongolia can be interpreted by the examination of these rock paintings. The study of these images, expressed on the rock paintings, was done in relation with the historical development of the medical sciences and it’s stressing, resulting in the discovery of following related documents.


To find out the relation of some historical rock paintings essence to which field of modern science it belongs, it is important to clarify the term sexology. Sexology, in its broad sense, is a science of sexual relations,

sexuality or science and study on sexual relations. It is considered that the study of sexual relations was originated in the Western world during the ancient Greek era, 4-5th century B.C., and during in Oriental world too. Especially, the history of Chinese researches on sexology can be traced back to a remote antiquity of over 2,000 years ago and China created the earliest sexology15. It can be said that study of sexual relations has ancient history and looking from the process of development much attention was paid to the experience rather than to results of sexual relations. The study of sexual relations is closely related with other fields of science including biology, medical sciences, psychology, statistics, epidemiology, education, social sciences, anthropology and criminal studies.

The majority of rock paintings pertaining to sexology that are found in Mongolia firstly belonged to III-II thousand years B.C. with the latest belonging to one thousand years of B.C., leading some researchers to consider that the paintings as belonging to Bronze Age.16 Therefore, the modem study of sexology history in our country can be considered to have started at least from Bronze Age.

Some paintings found by N.Ser-Odjav (1972) from Bayanhongor aimag Bayanlig soum17 territory, Tkh Bayan mountain Bichigt place include: The picture of lying man and woman. The man has his hands on the hips with legs bended and the woman has spread legs with her hands on knees, meaning the sexual interaction between them.

Tul comer rock painting in Arkhangai aimag18. This painting shows a man and a woman having sexual relations in different poses, specifically showing connections between the genitals. This image expresses the importance of sexual relations as a component of the human life, significantly showing more cognizances of the people during Bronze Age.

Arkhangai aimag Chuluut soum’s Chuluut river rock images. This painting shows both a man and a woman in a sexual position with spread legs; the man holds his legs and the woman holds her hands on hips.

Dundgobi aimag Ulziit soum’s territory, Hamar water rock painting shows: The man stands holding 3 binded horses, also 2 people both man and woman were brought together by the genitals and the man was directed by the arrow to be shot to his head, the fourth person is lying beside with nude genitals, the fifth person was portrayed among many horses.

Uvurhangai aimag, Bogd soum territory, Tevsh uul rock painting. Both the man and woman’s legs are spread to the sides, with the hands also spread to sides and both body’s legs are connected with slight lines, which represent the image of reproduction of people of that time. The composition and action of the human bodies presenting the sexual relations on the paintings are expressed with both realism and abstractly.

painting on the left side expresses realistic whereas
painting on the left side expresses realistic whereas

In them, the pictures show the starting of sexual relations, the act of sexual relations and the different positions of sexual relations. The beginning of sexual relations is shown through both partners opposing each other, with the acts of relations are then shown in different positions. Specifically, the legs of the man and woman are spread and the hips are located close together with the genitals connected; the woman is lying and the man is in half sitting position, or otherwise shown in a different position with the man in front and woman on the side.

  • Other images in the rock paintings include;
  • One man is preparing to shoot an arrow to another man performing a sexual act with a woman.
a man is shooting another man because of jealousy
a man is shooting another man because of jealousy

Under close examination one can deduce that the woman has close, seemingly sexual, relations with both men. Portrayed in the picture above, during the Bronze Age, dual families were formed, ergo one woman with two husbands. In that time the emotions of love, jealousy and to keep away his woman from others had emerged. With jealousy emerging, cases of killing also emerged. Also found were cases of the shooting of both sexual partners by a jealous woman with a strong angry man was standing aside too.

In addition to rock paintings of sexual relations of people during the Bronze Age, multiple paintings of animals were found. A.P.Okladnikov wrote, “…viewpoint of steppe nomads, their traditions were steadily formed on the basis of animals reproductive traditions”19.


From these ancient findings reflecting the sexual relations portrayed on the rock paintings, sexual relations played an important role in their behavior and actions, as well as the formation family relations. Therefore, the rock paintings are invaluable in the study of health, biological actions and morals of humans during that time.