Khutu­lun

The un­de­feated wrestler princess c.1260-c.1306

All About History - - DON’T CALL ME PRINCESS -

Genghis Khan’s great-great-grand­daugh­ter had one rule: if you wanted to marry her, you had to beat her in wrestling and if you lost, you owed her 100 horses. She ended up with 10,000 horses and no hus­band. An ex­pert eques­trian, archer and athlete, Khutu­lun was fa­mous for split­ting off from the Mon­gol forces and quickly pick­ing off en­e­mies, just to in­tim­i­date them. She left quite the im­pres­sion on his­tor­i­cal tourists like Marco Polo and Rashid al-din. She even shows up in the Net­flix se­ries

Marco Polo, although her char­ac­ter there is an ut­ter be­trayal of her his­tor­i­cal per­son­age: the on-screen woman is im­me­di­ately thrust into a Romeo-and-juliet re­la­tion­ship that never ex­isted. Sad as this is, it’s hardly the first time her story has been warped – she is also the in­spi­ra­tion for the story, and later opera, Tu­ran­dot. In that Eu­ro­pean retelling of her life, she be­comes a woman who chal­lenges her suit­ors with rid­dles in­stead of wrestling, killing them if they lose. The opera is about her fi­nally giv­ing in to love. While the West may con­tinue man­gling her legacy, the Mon­go­lians of to­day still find ways to sub­tly re­vere her. No­tably, tra­di­tional Mon­go­lian wrestler out­fits are open-chested to show that the con­tes­tant is not a woman, in def­er­ence to the un­de­feated Khutu­lun.

“While the West may con­tinue man­gling her legacy, the Mon­go­lians of to­day still find ways to sub­tly re­vere her”

Can’t you just imag­ine a mu­si­cal number hap­pen­ing this funny scene? in

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