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Department of East and Southeast Asia

Contact Information

Universitetskaya nab., 3. St.Petersburg, 199034

Phone: +7 (812) 328-41-22


Department Staff

Igor ALIMOV, Doctor of Sciences, Head of the Department (traditional spiritual culture of the peoples of China, Chinese folk beliefs, Chinese written monuments of the 1st – 13th century).

Dmitriy IVANOV, senior researcher, Candidate of Sciences

Elena IVANOVA, Doctor of Sciences, lead researcher (various aspects of the traditional material and spiritual culture of peoples of Southeast Asia (primarily Thailand), Buddhist sculpture, history of the science of ethnography, formation of the Department’s collections).

Polina RUD', research assistant (Chinese export paintings, Chinese folk pictures, everyday life of the Chinese in the Qing period, history of formation of the MAE Chinese collections).  

Alexander SINITSYN, Candidate of Sciences, senior researcher (traditional Japanese weapons and armor; traditional Japanese art (painting, ukiyo-e prints, varnishes, ceramics) in the MAE RAS archive; history and collectors of the MAE RAS Japanese collections; traditional culture of the Samurai caste of Japan; traditional culture of Burma).

History of the Department

The history of the Department of East and Southeast Asia as a structural unit of the MAE RAS had several phases. In the early 20th century, a department of cultured Asian countries was established in the MAE (Principal: A. I. Ivanov, until 1925). It was then transformed into the Far East Department headed by G. O. Monzeler and A. Ye. Gluskina. And in 1933, after the MAE was transformed into the Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, it was headed by N. V. Kühner.

After the Institute’s reorganization in 1937, the Museum’s Department of India, Indonesia, and Far East was set up (led by N. V. Kühner who simultaneously headed the East and Southeast Asia Room).

In 1948, a Department of Orient was set up as part of the Ethnography Institutes of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow. In this context, an East and South Asia Team was established in Leningrad. It was headed by N. V. Kühner up to his death in 1955. Later, it was headed by K. V. Vyatkina and R. F. Its.

In 1970, when the team incorporated the Australia and Oceania department, it was renamed Sector of East and Southeast Asia, Australia, and Oceania. In 1972 it split into the Sector of Foreign Asia (Principal: D. I. Tikhonov, then A. M. Reshetov after 1975) and Sector of Australia, Oceania and Indonesia (Principal: N. A. Butinov).

There were several more reorganizations in the 1990s, after the establishment of the MAE RAS. The Department in its current state has existed since 2002.

Over the years of its existence, the Department had such prominent specialists as L. L. Viktorova (Mongolia), K. V. Vyatkina (Mongolia), G. A. Glovatsky (China), A. Ye. Gluskina (Japan), A. I. Ivanov (China), Yu. V. Ionova (Korea), R. F. Its (China), R. A. Ksenofontova (Japan), N. V. Kühner (China), A. I. Mukhlinov (Vietnam), V. S. Starikov (China), G. G. Stratanovich (China), D. I. Tikhonov (China) etc.

Essential Topics of Research

Origin and ethnic history of the region’s peoples; current ethnic composition and ethnic processes; social organization; traditional material and spiritual culture; study and publication of the Department’s collections; history of Russian and international ethnography. In recent years, the Department researchers have been working for the research topics The Academic Museum in the 18th – 21st centuries: History of the concepts and collections (For the 300th anniversary of the Kunstkamera). Ethnic history and cultural heritage of peoples of the world..

Essential Publications

  • Alimov I. The work by Zhou Cheng: «Research on the Eastern Song capital»: information on temples and joss-houses // Manuscripta Orientalia. SPb., 2006. N 3.
  • Alimov I. «Tai-ping guang ji»: Motives Related to the Dead Souls // Manuscripta Orientalia. 2009. N 1.
  • Alimov I. Scientific and technical thought of old China in «Meng xi bi tan» // Manuscripta Orientalia. 2010. N 3.
  • Alimov I. The XIII century Southern China in «Ping zhou ke tan» // Manuscripta Orientalia. 2010. N 4.
  • Alimov I. Cood Reviews: Three early collections of Buddhist stories // Manuscripta Orientalia. 2013. N 1.

Publications in Russaian

Practically all of the Department’s researchers are authors of many papers, and monographs in particular. Among the most interesting ones, Dr. Ivanova’s series of monographs should be mentioned, dedicated to Thailand and to clothes and decorations of Southeast Asia’s peoples; a series of monographs by I. A. Alimov dedicated to the history of Chinese written monuments of the 1st – 13th cc.; papers by A. Yu. Sinitsyn on the Samurai and on works of Japanese artists of the early 19th century in the MAE collections; and a series of collective works dedicated to the culture, ethnic processes, etiquette, and childhood ethnography of the region’s peoples. Among the most important publications, the following monographs and collections of articles should be mentioned: