Turkestan Album. 1871-1872

The publicistic essay, restoring the chronicle of events related to the creation, popularization and the modern possibilities of preserving the "Turkestan Album of 1871-1872" and reminds readers of the unique content of this rarity.

Vilen Schwartz
ISSN 2181-8207
Aydin Gudarzi-Najafov, researcher, publicist, writer.
"Turkestan Album. 1871-1872 »

On May 30, 1872 Russia celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the last "Czar of All Russia" and from 1721 the All-Russian Emperor Peter the Great, the transformer and reformer who transformed the Russian kingdom into a powerful Russian Empire. In honor of such a significant anniversary date on the initiative of the "Imperial Society of Lovers of Natural Science, Anthropology, and Ethnography" the decision was made to hold the All-Russian Polytechnic Exhibition "of national significance. Expositions of the Exhibition were to tell about the results of the development of the Russian state during the reign of Emperor Alexander II – Liberator, who turned the country into one of the few industrialized countries in the world. The place and period of the exhibition was Moscow from May 30th to September 1st, 1872. The youngest brother of the Russian Emperor Alexander II, the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, became the Augustus Chairman of the Exhibition. The Honorary members of the "Exhibition Committee" were all the acting imperial ministers, the governors-general of Moscow and the Turkestan Region.
The well-known historical interest of the Emperor and reformer Peter the Great to the exploration of the Central Asian lands and the recent annexation of some of those lands to Russia gave the Turkestan’s participation in this jubilee event a special significance. After the announcement of the jubilee event, at the direction of the Turkestan Governor-General there was formed a group of scientists and specialists, who for many years studied the Central Asian region.
The professionalism of the group, working on this grandiose project, received due assessment in the first half of February 1872. On the shelves of bookstores in Moscow there were copies of the "Guide to Moscow and its environs". On its pages in the “Essay on the Polytechnic Exhibition” it was reported on the high level of participation in its work of Turkestan: "There will be 23 main departments at the exhibition, besides several local ones, of which the most satisfying requirements of the most important special sections of the exhibition are: Turkestan and Caucasus, arranged with the funds of the local administration and under its supervision".

This recognition was not the only one. Many popular periodicals noted a high level of the Turkestan’s exhibition expositions located in the specially built pavilion number 25. For example, the columnist of the popular weekly magazine "Niva" commenting on the Exhibition already in the days of its work and not hiding his delight, wrote: "Turkestan’s department is the most interesting, the most remarkable at the exhibition. Its pavilion differs sharply from the others with its eastern architecture, a gigantic faзade with a pointed arch in the middle, and with turrets (minarets) on its sides, painted in oriental patterns. Inside the building there are a lot of items acquainting with this interesting region, exhibited the whole collections of local works of art, maps, photographs, samples of soils and minerals, a collection of local plants and animals, human and animal skulls, and finally subjects relating to the ethnography of the region ... "
The subject overview of the Exhibition was published on the pages of the authoritative, multi-circulation weekly edition "The World Illustration". There, it was particularly noted that the visitors showed a great interest in the pavilion of Turkestan, which shortly before this event was included into the Russian Empire. A commentary on the Turkestan Pavilion reported on the magnificence of a two-and-a-half-fold reduced copy of the Shirdar Madrassah in Samarkand. The color palette and variety of ornaments of carpet products, koshmas, palasas and dozens of types of fabrics - silk, woolen and cotton made a great impression. There were causing surprise silk worms, for comparison healthy and sick, and cocoons representing different geographical parts of the vast region of Central Asia. In the same place there were exhibited finished products that were made using the technology of local peoples, and "Russian institutions". Inside the pavilion there were flying the Turkestan bees, and immediately from special national bowls it was possible to taste honey samples from the bee-house of Taib Makhsum himself who lived "eighty versts" from Tashkent. An honorable place in the Turkestan exposition was occupied by "mountain oil (oil)" from the source of Maybulak and Miley in the vicinity of Namangan in the Kokand Khanate, as well as products made of it - kerosene and asphalt made at the factory of the merchant Zakho in Maily. The result of Russia's integration into the economy of the region was demonstrated by the collection of the production of a butter-making factory of the pharmacist I.I. Krause in Tashkent such as walnut, poppy, sesame, linseed sunflower, pepper and rapeseed oil.

The main scientific source reporting the work of the Exhibition at all stages of its three-month work were dozens of periodically published issues of the “Bulletin of the Moscow Polytechnic Exhibition - 1872.” In one of its issues it was reported (note AG-N, here and hereinafter fragments): "To bypass the Exhibition and examine it only superficially ..., is possible in not less than two days and even then, with such a survey hardly anything could remain in memory because of the scale of all what was seen. For a detailed inspection, one needed two or three weeks, maybe a month... 10,000 domestic entrepreneurs and 2,000 foreign ones took part in the exhibition. The Committee had its own commissioners in twelve cities abroad, including Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna and London... The exhibition was viewed by 750,000 people, 100,000 of which were workers and students who visited it for free". In early June 1872, the exhibition was visited by its main Russian guest, His Majesty the Emperor Alexander II and accompanying him the Empress Tsarevnas. This event was commented on in the following days by many Russian newspapers. And each publication mentioned the attention of the public to the expositions of the Turkestan’s pavilion.  The honored guests of the Exhibition were represented by some other members of the Russian Imperial Family. Among the VIP guests of this all-Russian event were well-known politicians, military figures, scientists, industrialists, merchants, foreign diplomats, and inventors. The success of the exhibition defined the general opinion, which can be reduced to a single thesis - the visitors did not hide their interest, surprise and delight from the everything that Russia achieved in the post-Petrovsky period. One of the important outcomes of the all-Russian event:  for storage, demonstrations of unique collections of the Exhibition and their research, there were created two large museums - the Historical and Polytechnic.
At the end of October 1872, the Turkestan governor-general Konstantin Petrovich fon Kaufman-I returned to Tashkent from Moscow, crowded with the new ideas, that were born in the days of his presence at the Exhibition. Realizing that the achieved success will soon go into the category, albeit important, but still past events, he gives an order to prepare a separate issue of "The Turkestan Album of 1871-1872 years". Its content - thematic photos from the exposition of the Turkestan branch of the past Exhibition supplemented with new photo-plots, maps of geography of the region or its separate areas, and photographs on military topics.
The famous Russian orientalist Alexander Lyudvigovich Kuhn was offered to lead the group. M.T. Brodovsky, N.V. Bogayevsky, photographers Nekhoroshev and Kravtsov were engaged to this work. The result of their work were 1200 images, including twenty-one watercolors, fourteen architectural plans and thirteen military topographic maps. Lithographic works, stage by stage, as they were ready for each individual volume of the Album, were carried out in Tashkent in the Military Topographic Department of the Military District.
Active acquaintance with the Turkestan region successfully presented in 1872 at the “Moscow Polytechnic Exhibition” with comments in the periodical press and the issues of the “Bulletin of the Moscow Polytechnic Exhibition”, did not end with this. Only some examples.
At the end of 1872 in Moscow with a small interval were published:
- in the authorship of N.A. Maev "The first issue of the Collection" "Russian Turkestan" "published on the occasion of the Polytechnic Exhibition". Geography and statistics.
- in the authorship of A.D. Grebenkin "The Second Edition of the Collection" with some "articles on ethnography, technology, agriculture and the natural history of the Tajiks, published on the occasion of the Polytechnic Exhibition."
In 1873 at the World Exhibition in Vienna the collection of the Turkestan department of the Polytechnic Museum was presented. In 1874 the collection of Turkestan silkworm breeding had successes at the London exhibition.
But in this, undoubtedly incomplete list, our attention was drawn to the brochure "Technical Production in the Turkestan Territory" published in January 1875 in St. Petersburg. Its content was "An appendix to the fishing album of the Turkestan territory, compiled and published at the behest of the Turkestan General of the Governor-General Adjutant K.P. Fon Kaufmann's 1-st. " Author: The Secretary of the Turkestan Branch of the Imperial Society of Lovers of Natural History, Ethnography and Anthropology, M.I. Brodsky. The author of the preface, dated "19-November 1874 St. Petersburg", A.L. Kun.
In his Foreword the author reports: "In 1870, according to the instructions of the Turkestan governor-general, and with the assistance given to me at the disposal of photography ..., the compilation of the Turkestan album was undertaken, aimed at presenting as clearly as possible all the manifestations of the social life of the newly acquired outskirts. The details of this program are set out in the preface to it. This work, which includes more than 1200 types, scenes, types, etc., finished early this year. (note AG-N, i.e. 1874). Due to the high cost of the publication, it is printed in a very limited number of copies, in types giving an opportunity to get acquainted with the territory at least in the main book depositories. Currently, these full copies of the Turkestan album (note AG-N, - five) are in the Imperial Public Library, the Imperial Academy of Arts, the Imperial St. Petersburg University, the Moscow Polytechnic Museum and the Tashkent Public Library. The first release of the Appendix to "Technical Production in the Turkestan territory" is only one part of the alleged (AG-H \ means their creation) four:

"1) Technical production,
2) Ethnographic essays,
3) Samarkand antiquities,
4) Military-historical sketch of the movement of russians to Central Asia.

At the same time, we consider it a duty to make a reservation that the purpose of this issue of the Appendix is to explain those photographs that represent the industrial activities of the country without the intention to declare them a scientific study of this subject to which, in our opinion, (here and further italics AG-N) the time has not arrived yet. The provided description should be accepted as the first experience of the collection of material for this issue. "
If we start from the text of A.L. Kuna, the work on the last parts of the volumes of the “Album”, was completed in 1874, which corrects the reports of prerevolutionary and modern sources about the readiness of all its four parts in 1872.
"Turkestan Album of 1871-1872" with a number of copies, immediately after the publication of its volumes acquired the status of a bibliographic rarity. But it attracted not only its undeniable novelty of images. The album was the lesson of a delicate attitude and due respect for history and traditions of indigenous peoples and their centuries of established secular interpretation of Islam.
About the biography of all those involved in its publication written a lot and does not require repetition. But how were the fates of his volumes formed in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods? Today, let the brief, but the most accessible to the reader's audience analytical information, and the opportunity to see quality images of all four parts of the Album in a digitized version is provided only by the Internet site of the Library of Congress. This work was preceded by a number of important events.

In 1934, the Library of Congress acquired a complete set of volumes of the perfectly preserved Album from the New York bookseller-antiquarian Israel Perlshtein. After several decades, in 1983 in the autumn issue of the printed quarterly magazine of the Library of Congress, the first brief analysis of the unique collection was published in the authorship of Parker Brend. It also reported on the creation of a microfilm created to preserve the original of the priceless treasure.
With the beginning of the use of more modern technologies, an electronic digital analog of the Album’s images was created in the Library with the placement on a separate page of the library site. On the same page the second brief review is published in the authorship of the American scientist Heather S. Sontag.
Avoiding the repetition of its content I will only specify - in this work with the textbook known data about the rarity, there is an intriguing and at the same time encouraging refinement: "Today we know of seven copies of a multi-volume Album. In addition to the United States Uzbekistan and Russia have them as well."


\ Weekly Journal Niva, 1872.
\ Weekly Edition Historical Herald, 1872.
\ Bulletin of the Moscow Polytechnic Exhibition, 1872.
\ N.A. Maev, Russian Turkestan. A collection published on the occasion of the Polytechnic Exhibition. <Issue the first. Geography and statistics, M. 1872.
\ V.N. Trotsky, Russian Turkestan. A collection published on the occasion of the Polytechnic Exhibition. <Issue the second. Articles on ethnography, technology, agriculture and natural history, M. 1872.
\ D. Grebenkin. Tajiks // Russian Turkestan: Digest published on the occasion of the Polytechnic Exhibition. Release of the second. Articles on ethnography, technology, agriculture and natural history. - M., 1872.
\ M.I. Brodovsky. Technical production in the Turkestan region. Appendix to the Fishing Album of the Turkestan Region. Foreword A.L. Kun. S-PbC, 1875.
\ Parker Brenda. "Turkestanskii Al'bom: Portrait of a Faraway Place and Another Time." Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress (1983).
\ Vanderbilt, Paul. "Kun Collection." In Guide to the Special Collections of Prints & Photographs in the Library of Congress, 92. Washington, Library of Congress, 1955.
\ Sonntag, Heather S. "Photography & Mapping Russian Conquest in Central Asia: Early Albums, Encounters, & Exhibitions 1866-1876" In Journйe d'Etude Centrasiatique. Histoire du Turkestan russe et du Xinjiang. Oct. 26, 2007.