Delivery of Museum Collections to the USSR in the Period of Sanctions: Experience of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in the 1920s

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Abstract

The article examines the circumstances and history of delivery to Russia of ethnographic collections by the First Russian Expedition to Ceylon and India (1914-18). These items were stored at Russian Tea Firm Gubkin & Co warehouses in Colombo, Government Museum (Madras) and Indian Museum (Calcutta), at the State Far Eastern University (Vladivostok) until 1925. The authors consider political conditions and ways of protection of the Academy of Sciences property in the 1920s. The Indian collections in 1921-24 became the pretext for the working out a model of interaction between the young Soviet state and Great Britain. The arguments proposed by Academician F.I. Stcherbatsky made it possible to resolve diplomatic conflicts related to the confiscation of the property of British subjects in the Soviet Russia. In 1923-24 international cooperation of scientists facilitated the transportation of Indian exhibits to the academic Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE). By 1925, most of the collections had been delivered to Petrograd, the Meerwarths returned to the MAE.

About the authors

Igor Yu. Kotin

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Email: igorkotin@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5751-7703

Dr. habil. hist., Leading Researcher, Head of the Department of the South and South-West Asia

3 Universitetskaya nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia

Nina G. Krasnodembskaya

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Email: nigekrasno@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0193-3905

Dr. habil. hist., Leading Researcher of the Department of the South and South West Asia

3 Universitetskaya nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia

Elena S. Soboleva

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: soboleva@kunstkamera.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6137-0476

Ph.D. in History, Senior Researcher of the Department of the South and South West Asia

3 Universitetskaya nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia

References

  1. Iwanow, W.A. “Autobiography by Wladimir Alekseevich Iwanow (Editied and commented by O.F. Akimushkin).” In Petersburgskoe Vostokovedenie. Vol. 10 (2002): 446-455.
  2. Kotin, I.Yu., Krasnodembskaya, N.G., and Soboleva, E.S. Ekspeditsiia MAE na Tseilon i v Indiyu v 1914-1918 gg. Istoriia. Kollektsii. Nauchnoe nasledie. St. Peterburg: MAE Publ., 2018 (in Russian)
  3. Mervart, A.M. Otdel Indii: Kratkii ocherk indiiskoi kul’tury po materialam Otdela Indii MAE. Leningrad: Akademiya nauk SSSR Publ., 1927 (in Russian)
  4. Soboleva, E.S., W.W. Radlov and a system of transportation of collections to the MAE (end of 19th - early 20th century).” In Primus inter parus (to the 175th anniversary of W.W. Radlov), 155-184. St. Petersburg: MAW, 2015 (in Russian)

Copyright (c) 2022 Kotin I.Y., Krasnodembskaya N.G., Soboleva E.S.

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