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Turkestan Album

Prints and Photographs Division
Collection digitized? Yes. See Access section below.

Introduction | Access | Obtaining Reproductions | Permissions and Credits | Related Resources | Bibliography

Practicing the kamancha
Practicing the kamancha.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-09953-00006 (digital file from Part 2, vol. 2, pl. 82, no. 267)

Introduction

The Turkestanskii Al’bom (Turkestan Album, or Tуркестанский альбом) provides a visual survey of Central Asia from the perspective of the Russian imperial government that took control of the area in the 1850s and 1860s. About 1,200 photographs, with some architectural plans, watercolor drawings, and maps, October 23, 2012

  • The "Chast' Arkheologicheskaia" (Archaeological Part) features views of Islamic architecture, chiefly in Samarkand. (2 volumes) [view description and images]
  • The "Chast' Etnograficheskaia" (Ethnographical Part) offers individual portraits and daily life scenes of Uzbeks, Tadzhiks, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and others. (2 volumes) [view description and images]
  • The "Chast' Promyslovaia" (Trades Part) shows such occupations as textile production, mining, and baking. (1 volume) [view description and images]
  • The "Chast' Istoricheskaia" (Historical Part) focuses on Russian military activities with battle maps and portraits of soldiers involved between 1853 and 1871. (1 volume) [view description and images]
  • Lieutenant General and Adjutant General K.P. von Kaufman I
    Lieutenant General and Adjutant-General K.P. von Kaufman I, Turkestan Governor General and Commander of the Troops in the Turkestan Military Okrug.
    LC-DIG-ppmsca-09957-00002 (digital file from Part 4, pl. 4, no. 2)

    Konstantin Petrovich Von Kaufman (1818-1882), the first governor general of Russian Turkestan, commissioned the albums to acquaint Russians and Westerners with the region. The Russian orientalist A.L. Kun (also spelled Kuhn) compiled the first three parts, and the albums were formerly referred to as the Kun Collection. The other compilers included M.T. Brodovskii, M.A. Terentyev, N.V. Bogaevskii and photographer N.N. Nekhoroshev. The Military-Topographic Department, Military District of Tashkent printed the lithographic parts of each plate. The production work was primarily done in St. Petersburg and Tashkent in 1871-72.

    To read the compilers' characterization of the project, view the foreword (English translation by Heather S. Sonntag) [PDF file, 29 kb., 2 p.]

    Cover of Turkestanskīi al'bom, chast' ėtnograficheskaia : tuzemnoe naselenie v russkikh vladieniiakh Srednei Azīi
    Cover of Turkestanskīi al'bom, chast' ėtnograficheskaia (Ethnographical Part, vol. 1)
    [view album | view description]

    Physically, each large green leather-bound volume is 45 x 60 cm. (17.7 x 23.6 in.) Following a printed title page, textual introduction, and list of captions, the visual plates appear with lithographically printed running headings, decorative borders, and individual captions in Russian. Each plate contains from one to eight gold-toned albumen photographic prints, with occasional watercolor drawings, architectural plans, and battle maps.

    The Library of Congress purchased the albums in 1934 from New York City book dealer Israel Perlstein. Other copies have survived in the National Library of Uzbekistan and the National Library of Russia.

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    Access

    The original albums are very fragile. Researchers work with the digital images instead of the original volumes to help preserve these treasures. A contractor, DataTrac, made the digital images in 2006 for the Library of Congress. A microfilm made in 1982 is also available in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room by requesting LOT 11688 (M).

    The album images are available online in two viewing arrangements:

    • an image grid that enables you to select and view each image close up, along with Russian and English captions

    • an album view that enables you to look at how the images appear on the album pages in sequence from cover to cover (with the original printed captions in Cyrillic characters).
    Grid view
    Turkestan grid view
    Album view
    Turkestan page in album view

    The table below summarizes the contents of each album and gives access to each type of view.

     

    Part 1 - "Archaeological Part"

    Turkestan part 1 image
    grid icon Grid view (363 images)
    album icon Album view, volume 1 (plates 1-76)
    album icon Album view, volume 2 (plates 77-154)

    Subjects: Photographs, watercolor drawings, and architectural plans showing Islamic architecture, chiefly the "antiquities of Samarkand" (plates 18-154), including mausoleums, mosques, madrasas, ruins, inscriptions, and decorative details.

    Citation: Turkestanskii al'bom. Po rasporiazheniiu turkestanskago general-gubernatora general-ad"iutanta K. P. fon Kaufmana 1-go. Chast' arkheologicheskaia. Sostavili A. L. Kun i N. V. Bogaevskii. 1871-1872 g. Lit. Voenno-Topogr. Otdiela Turkest. Voen. Okruga.

    Translation: Turkestan Album. By order of the Turkestan Governor-General, Adjutant-General K.P. von Kaufman I. The Archaeological Part. Compiled by A.L. Kun and N.V. Bogaevskii. 1871-1872. Lit[hographed] by the Military Topographical Department of the Turkestan Military District.

    Part 2 - "Ethnographic Part"

    Part 2 image
    grid icon
    Grid view (496 images)
    album icon
    Album view, volume 1 (plates 1-81)
    album icon
    Album view, volume 2 (plates 82-163)

    Subjects: Photographs showing individuals representing the Kyrgyz, Kazak, Uzbek, Sart, Tajik, Iranian, Gypsy, Indian, Afghan, Arab, and Jewish populations (plates 1-33); daily life and rituals, including weddings, horse racing, religious activities, clothing and dress, and occupational portraits of musicians, street vendors, and others (plates 34-91); views of villages and cities, including Samarkand and Tashkent, street vendors, and other commercial activities (plates 92-163).

    Citation: Turkestanskii al'bom. Po rasporiazheniiu turkestanskago general-gubernatora general-ad"iutanta K. P. fon Kaufmana 1-go. Chast' etnograficheskaia tuzemnoe naselenie v russkikh vladieniiakh Srednei Azii. Sostavil A. L. Kun. 1871-1872 g. Lit. Voenno-Topogr. Otdiela Turkest. Voen. Okruga.

    Translation: Turkestan Album. By order of the Turkestan Governor-General, Adjutant-General K.P. von Kaufman I. The Ethnographical Part - Native populations in the Russian possessions of Central Asia. Compiled by A.L. Kun. 1871-1872. Lithographed by the Military Topographical Department of the Turkestan Military District.

    Part 3 - "Trades Part"

    Part 3 image
    grid icon
    Grid view (213 images)
    album icon
    Album view (plates 1-45)

    Subjects: Photographs showing crafts and occupations such as textiles (plates 1-10); metalwork and mining (plates 11-19); timber and woodwork (plates 20-24); leatherwork (plates 25-30); agriculture, baking, and other products (plates 31-41); pottery making and other small industries (plates 42-45).

    Citation: Turkestanskii al'bom. Po rasporiazheniiu turkestanskago general-gubernatora general-ad"iutanta K. P. fon Kaufmana 1-go. Chast' promyslovaia u tuzemnago naseleniia v russkikh vladieniiakh Srednei Azii. Sostavili A. L. Kun i M. I. Brodovskii. 1871-1872 g. Lit. A. Argamakova VO 9 l. No. 14.

    Translation: Turkestan Album. By order of the Turkestan Governor-General, Adjutant-General K.P. von Kaufman I. The Trades Part and native populations in the Russian possessions of Central Asia. Compiled by A.L. Kun and M.I. Brodovskii. 1871-1872. Lithographed by A. Argamakov, Vasilevsky Island, 9th line, No. 14.

    Part 4 - "Historical Part"

    Part 4 image
    grid icon
    Grid view (211 images)
    album icon
    Album view (plates 1-79)

    Subjects: Photographs showing individual and group portraits of officials and military personnel along with views and maps of military installations, sieges, and battles between 1853 and 1871. Most of the men received awards such as the Cross of St. George.

    Citation: Turkestanskii al'bom. Po rasporiazheniiu turkestanskago general-gubernatora general-ad"iutanta K. P. fon Kaufmana 1-go. Chast' istoricheskaia. Sostavil M. A. Terent'ev. 1871-1872 g. Lit. Voenno-Topogr. Otdiela Turkest. Voen. Okruga.

    Translation: Turkestan Album. By order of the Turkestan Governor-General, Adjutant-General K.P. von Kaufman I. The Historical Part. Compiled by M.A. Terentyev. 1871-1872. Lithographed by the Military Topographical Department of the Turkestan Military District. 

    The two types of views above enable researchers to examine the albums as artifacts, as well as to explore the visual content of individual images in detail. To locate an individual image in the grid and album views, retrieve the catalog record for the album (you can search the number using the middle part of the identification number) and browse to the image in question. For example, to retrieve LC-DIG-ppmsca-09951-00003, search for ppmsca 09951 and go to the third image.

    Researchers can also find individual catalog records for each image when they search by subject matter, place name, or caption keyword. These records help researchers discover Turkestan Album images alongside images from other collections that feature similar topics or geographic focus. To look at catalog records created for individual images, search for the call number "DK854.T87" [view individual catalog records].

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    Obtaining Reproductions

    Users may download images themselves or can order copies through the Library of Congress Duplication Services. Orders must include the reproduction number of the desired image. Example: LC-DIG-ppmsca-09947-00002.

    Permissions and Credits

    No restrictions are known on publication or other forms of distribution of the images in the Turkestan Album. Please cite the source of the image with the credit line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-DIG-ppmsca-09947-00002]. 

    Related Resources

    In the Prints & Photographs Division

    Atlas anthropologique des peuples du Ferghanah / par Ch. E. De Ujfalvy de Mezo-Kövesd ... Paris : Ernest Leroux, 1879. Call number: GN635.T8 U5 (Case X) 

    À travers le Turkestan russe : ouvrage illustré de deux cent-soixante-cinq gravures d'après les clichés de l'auteur et contenant une carte en couleurs / Hugues Krafft. Paris : Hachette et Cie, 1902. Call number: DK854 .K89 (Case Y) 

    Prokudin-Gorskii, Sergeii Mikhailovich. Views in Central Asia, Russian Empire. Photographs, 1905-1915. Call number: LOT 10338 (H). Available online: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2001696387/

    Elsewhere in the Library of Congress

    Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division
    URL:  http://www.loc.gov/rr/amed/

    The online Near East illustrated guide summarizes resources for the study of Central Asia resources.

    Selected Bibliography

    Note: The Library of Congress does not maintain the sites listed below. Users should direct concerns about these links to their respective site administrators or webmasters. Please read our Standard Disclaimer.

    Parker, Brenda. “Turkestanskii Al’bom: Portrait of a Faraway Place and Another Time.” Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 40 (Fall 1983): 284-341.

    Sonntag, Heather S. "Photography & Mapping Russian Conquest in Central Asia: Early Albums, Encounters, & Exhibitions 1866-1876" In Journée d'Etude Centrasiatique. Atelier 3: Histoire du Turkestan russe et du Xinjiang. Oct. 26, 2007. http://www.reseau-asie.com/cgi-bin/prog/pform.cgi?langue=fr&Mcenter=article_standard&TypeListe=showdoc&ID_document=269 External link

    Vanderbilt, Paul. "Kun Collection." In Guide to the Special Collections of Prints & Photographs in the Library of Congress, 92. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1955.

    Wikipedia includes numerous articles and maps related to the history of Central Asia. A few representative examples include:


    Acknowledgment: Heather S. Sonntag transliterated and translated all of the captions in 2005-2006, while completing her doctoral thesis about these albums. The Prints & Photographs Division is very grateful for her work. Harry Leich, Russian Area Specialist, Library of Congress European Division, provided editorial guidance.
    Prepared by: Helena Zinkham, Prints & Photographs Division, from the sources cited in the bibliography. Last updated: February 2007.


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