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Eastern Slavs and Peoples of European Russia

Collections representing peoples of European part of the former USSR and foreign Europe (over 15 thousand specimens, some 26 thousand negatives and over 11 thousand illustrations) are housed at the depository “Department of Europe”. Their first collector was the founder of St.-Petersburg Kunstkamera Peter I, who brought from Europe numerous specimens presented to him or those he had acquired specially for the Kunstkamera. In the 1700s and early 1800s new valuable collections from the Volga and the Urals were received. During the 1768–74 Physical and Topographical Expedition Academician P.S. Pallas and adjunct I.I. Lepekhin greatly enriched the department’s funds with clothing of the Volga peoples. By the time the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography was established (1879), it had owned, apart from the all these, small collections representing Russian ethnography.

In the early 1900s, the department received Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian specimens collected by the expeditions led by D.A. Klementz, S.M. Dudin, and N.M. Mogilyanskii. Large collections were received from M.K. Kablukova-Gorbunova, A.V. Zhuravskii, D.D. Travin, A.I. Rogachev, etc. Samples of embroidery made by Tver’ Karelians were received from a village teacher M.V. Mikhailovskaya. Director of Helsingfors Museum Dr. T. Schwindt supervised the acquisition of collections illustrating the Finnish culture of the Karelian Isthmus. In 1897 the Museum received part of the present given to Alexander II by the Bulgarian people in acknowledgment of his role in the liberation of their country from Turkish domination.

In 1930-40 D.K. Zelenin made a huge contribution to the museum by having systematically collected items by categories (implements, clothing, footwear, headgears, etc.) In the postwar period, when the historical and ethnographic atlas was being prepared, much attention was paid to Eastern Slavic enclaves in Siberia (G.M. Osokin, L.M. Saburova, G.S. Maslova, A.A. Lebedeva), in Central Asia, and in Kazakhstan (E.E. Blomkvist, T.V. Stanyukovich). In the late 1900s more collections arrived from Archangelsk and Vologda regions and from the Vepsian area of Leningrad oblast’ (A.E. Finchenko).

Among the most interesting specimens are hats worn by Russians and the Volga Finns and Turks, spoons, samples of embroidery. The most important illustrations are in the collections of I.S. Polyakov, V.A. Carrick, M.A. Krukovskii, S.M. Dudin, and A.A. Belikov.

The following catalogues have been published:

  • Katalog kollektsii otdela Evropy MAE [Catalogue of Collections of the Department of Europe of MAE] / Compiled by Stanyukovich T.V., Ushakov N.V., Bernshtam T.A., Kogan M.E., Yukhneva N.V., Gvozdikova L.S., Zhukovskaya I.V., Kamenetskaya R.V., Molotova L.N., Starovoitova G.V., Shapovalova G.G. // Pamyatniki kul’tury narodov Evropy i evropeiskoi chasti SSSR. L., 1982. P. 153–191. (MAE Collections. Vol. XXXVIII).
  • Lavrent’eva L.S. Katalog illyustrativnykh kollektsii otdela Evropy MAE [Catalogue of Illustrative Collections of the Department of Europe of MAE] // Iz kul’turnogo naslediya narodov Vostochnoi Evropy. SPb., 1992. P. 180–197. (MAE Collections. Vol. XLV).