Preliminary results of the joint Russian-Kazakhstan historical-ethnographic expedition following the project "Samuel Dudin - photographer, artist, ethnographer. The materials of the expedition to Kazakhstan of 1899."
Program "The Historical Cultural Heritage
and Spiritual values of Russia"
of the Presidium of the Russian
Academy of Sciences
The main task of the expedition was to collect material for the scientific support of the St. Petersburg Kunstkamera Kazakh collections publication within the frameworks of the large-scale scientific project tentatively titled "Traditional Kazakh Culture in the object and photographic collections of the MAE RAS." The complex scientific, expedition, exhibition and publishing project is designed by the MAE and the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the purpose of uniting the efforts of the leading scientists of the two countries in the field of research and publication of the Kazakh collection of the MAE, one of the most interesting and oldest in the world. The history of the collection is closely associated with the history of Russia and the history of Kazakhstan of the 19th - early 20th centuries. Among its collectors were Chinghiz Valikhanov, the father of Kazakh enlightenment scientist Chokan Valikhanov, a prominent Russian artist Vasilii Vereshchagin, a well-known traveler and researcher of Central Asia Grigorii Grumm-Grzhimaylo, a prominent orientalist-Turkologist Nikolai Katanov, the first Russian governor-general of Turkestan Konstantin von Kaufman, the last emperor of Russia Nicholas II, the director of the MAE Friedrich W. Radloff and many others.
The collections of the MAE also keep a unique collections of photo materials of Samuel Martynovich Dudin (1863-1929), an artist, ethnographer-scientist, traveler and collector. He became the founder and (since 1911) the permanent head of the specialized photographic laboratory of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography - one of the first in the whole world - and practically one of the founders of a scientific trend, which is today referred to as visual anthropology. Samuel Dudin became a pioneer of the collection of the Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum (today it is known as the Russian Ethnographic Museum) of ethnography of the peoples of Central Asia. The uniqueness of the artistic heritage of Dudin in many respects is comprised of his special approach to material, an approach that combined talent and professionalism of a true artist with a scientific thoroughness and objectivity. The monographic publication of Dudin's collection will become the first stage of the realization of the project "Traditional Kazakh Culture in the object and photographic collections of the MAE RAS."
The basis of the expedition's route was comprised of the materials of Samuel Dudin's trip to Akmola, Semipalatinsk and Semirechye provinces in 1899. This expedition went down in the history of the MAE as one of the largest and most fruitful scientific endeavors of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. The purpose of Dudin's expedition was particularly taken up for the purpose of forming a special exposition for the Paris World Fair. Then, in the work process, 500 photographs were managed to be taken, the photographs that pictured the nomadic lifestyle of Kazakhs: everyday scenes and landscapes, human portraits, people's occupation, interior design and decoration, winter and summer nomad's camps, dresses, musical instruments. Dudin also managed to sketch Kazakh ornaments and collect ethnographic items. According to the diversity of subject matter and number of photographs, the collection No 1199 given by Dudin to the Museum in 1907 can fully be considered a photographic encyclopedia of traditional Kazakh lifestyle.
The archive of Dudin's expedition did not survive, but staff of the MAE Valeriya Prischepova and Iinga Stasevich, with the help of a known expert in local history Yuri Popov, were able to restore the main way points of Samuel Dudin on the basis of his photographs. A good deal of preliminary work of collecting and analyzing the expedition materials was conducted by Anna Kudreavtseva. A significant amount of preparatory work was conducted by our Kazakh colleagues. As a result two junctions of active field work of Samuel Dudin were brought to light: Bayanaul in the Pavlodar uyezd and Karkaralinsk in the Karkaralinsk uyezd in the Semipalatinsk province. At those spots particularly the main work of the expedition of 2010 took place. Many attributions of the photographs of Dudin were made clear and corrected, large amounts of material was brought in, which permits to look at the objects registered by Dudin taking into consideration scientific perspective and information, collected by specialists throughout the years since his journey.
In the Karkaralinsk district the expedition worked in the area of Lake Shaitankol on the top of the Budyly Ridge, in the valleys of the Zharly and Nury rivers, in the hole of Kent, at the - supposed - ruins of a Buddhist temple of the 16th century, photographed by Dudin, in the mosque, built by the father of Abay, the founder and first classic of Kazakh written literature. Today this mosque becomes a popular pilgrimage site.
30 km away from Karkaralinsk on the river of Taldy the expedition worked at the burial site of four sultans, volost rulers, also photographed by Dudin. Today it is a pilgrimage site. These are the tombs of sultan Tauke (1769-?), his sons - Kusbek (1797-?), sultan Tubek (1801-?) and Ismail-khan (1828-?). Nearby there is the tomb of akyn Shozhe Karzhawbayuly (better known as Shozhe akyn) (1808-1895), who asked to be buried nearby the tomb of Kusbek, who also was a prominent akyn.
In the Bayanaul district the expedition works were in particular carried out in the region of the Jasybay Lake, in the cave of Awliya-Tas (Konyr Awliya), one of the most ancient sacral sites on the territory of Kazakhstan; in the hole of Akkelin, where the family burial plot of Chormanovs is located; they were important informants of Samuel Dudin, whom he also photographed in 1899.
Within the frames of the "Ijma‘=Concord" project an intensive collection of materials on the history and modern state if Islam was taken place, the latter is developing here under conditions of intensive intercultural and interreligious interaction. In particular, the expedition visited the museum and burial vault of Mashhur Zhusup Kopeev, and also the central mosque named after him (the city of Pavlodar). Köpeev, revered today on the territory of Kazakhstan as a saint, was one of the informants of the director of the MAE, a prominent Turkologist, academician Friedrich W. Radloff. Under the influence of the latter in 1872 he proceeded to collect oral literature of Northern and Central Kazakhstan, which in many respects formed his character.
Complex ethno-cultural processes of various directions that were taking place in the 20th century on the territory of Kazakhstan were studied by the expedition members in the village of Bay Mirza, once an Estonian village Pokornoe (until 1914 known as Liflyandskoe).
Fruitful meetings with the officials and employees of the local museums took place in Astana, Karaganda, Bayanaul, Karakalinsk and Pavlodar. The expedition specialists had an opportunity to get to know interesting museum collections gathered there.
In Astana Russian expedition members took part in the International Project that went by the name of "Memory in the Name of Future", organized by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan under the aegis of and with the support of the Intergovernmental Fund of Humanitarian Partnership of Member States of the CIS. A series of lectures was given at the international theoretical and practical conference "From History to Modernity. The expedition members also took active part in holding a training seminar for museum workers; the seminar went by the name of "Museum in the Global Context: Process and Priorities." They also paid a visit to the museum memorial complex "ALJIR" (Russian acronym that stands for ‘Akmolinsk camp of wives of traitors of the Motherland').
In the course of fourteen days of the field work the expedition covered about four thousand kilometers by surface transportation and brought back about four hours of video material and also over 5000 of professional photographs.
In the course of preparation for the 300th anniversary of the first Russian State Museum - Peter the Great Kunstkamera and on the basis of the materials of the expedition of 2010 ethnographic exhibitions are planned in St. Petersburg, Almaty and London.
The expedition project was partially sponsored by the grant of the Program "Historical Cultural Heritage and Spiritual Values of Russia" of the Presidium of the RAS and by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Text is started by a photograph taken by Samuel Dudin "Girl's dress", Kazakhstan, 1899, watercolor over the photographic print, the collection of MAE RAS No 1199-34-P2.
From the expedition photographs of Tatiana Fedorova: