This is a very interesting text and set of illustrations, dating back to 1500ish at least. I’ve seen it described as possibly the earliest illustrated primer. (Personally I feel a bit skeptical about that. Read as earliest printed one, maybe?) There is a scan at archive.org, but I wanted it to be in more convenient form, so I rearranged the whole thing, transcribed, and annotated it. There are a couple of gaps and very likely some errors. To be honest, I came up against my limitations in knowledge and research abilities fairly quickly. (Turns out Mongolian headwear is a surprisingly complex subject.) Still, I like to think it’s a decent effort overall.
I have this notion that there is something under the surface of the text, a hidden structure or symbolism or I-don’t-know-what. Can’t really back that idea up with much besides intuition, so maybe it’s just me being silly. Although I did notice that it consists of 39 lines (columns) with 388 characters altogether. Probably a stretch to call that hidden symbolism, but it’s something.
On a slightly less vague and handwavey matter, if anyone happens to know whether this text fits the criteria of some particular poetic form, I’d be interested to learn about that. And naturally, if you notice any mistakes or can clear up any gaps, it would be awesome if you could comment.