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For all, who are interested in the Orient

Восточная коллекция № 1, 2003 (12) In 2003 the Russian State Library is 175 years old. Its foundation was laid by the private collection of the State Chancellor of Russia Count Nikolay Rumyantsev, which was bequeathed "to the benefit of the Motherland and good education". The present issue of the "Oriental Collection" is devoted to that memorial date.

Address to the readers by Viktor Fedorov, the Director General of the Russian State Library, dozens of rare photographs and a historical essay "Long Way to Mokhovaya, 6" tell about the formation and present situation of collections in Oriental languages.

In spite of the new information technologies, the library today still remains the most important institution in dissemination of cultural values. Such is the topic of discussion between Viktor Fedorov and Professor Mikhail Meyer, Director of the Institute of Asian and African Countries of the Moscow State University, entitled "Alexandria: Meeting of Civilizations".

Authors of this issue present rarities from the collections of Oriental books, periodicals, manuscripts and works of art, which are kept in the main library of this country. The articles are illustrated by reproductions, most of which are published for the first time.

Ekaterina Barysheva. Count Rumyantsev’s Collection of Rarities. The article tells about the dramatic fate of Count Rumyantsev’s ethnographic collection, which is extant now only in solitary items.

Tatiana Dolgodrova. Becher’s Bindings. Book bindings made by artisans from Islamic countries and collected by Becher, a doctor from Germany, are an example of high art of book making.

Eleonora Bryankina, Nadezhda Ryzhak. Periodicals of "Russian Harbin". Review of several magazines published by the Russian emigre in China after the 1917 Revolution.

Viktor Molchanov. Rarities of Oriental Writing. Review of the collection of manuscripts related to Oriental history and culture, to connections between Russia and the countries of Asia and Africa.

Anatoly Sokolov. Asian Circle of Prince Vyazemsky. This article precedes the publication of a fragment from handwritten itinerary of Prince Konstantin Vyazemsky, Russian traveller of the 19th century.

Konstantin Tertitsky. Journal of Secret Observations. An introduction to a publication of notes made by the staff of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in China in the 18th century.

Yuri Averyanov. King and Padishah. An article about the life and works of Faizi, the court poet of Akbar Shah, one the Great Moguls of India, and a publication of Russian translations of several Faizi’s qasida from his "Diwan", a 16th century manuscript.

Marina Chestnykh. The Secret Eros. An article about the so-called "Erotic Collection", which, besides erotic drawings, contains a large number of books seized by the state censorship in the USSR period.

Artem Kobzev. The Art of Inner Chambers. The author tells about erotic tradition in Chinese culture and presents some of the items of the "Erotic Collection", mentioned above.

Maria Toropygina. "Old Man Manji, Who Was Nuts About Drawing". A commentary to the Japanese book of drawings by Hokusai, and a literary reconstruction of Japanese myths, reflected in these drawings.

Boris Perli. Just God. Emotional and ironical story of the journey, made by the author, who works in the Library, to one of the ashrams of India.

Yuri Vartanov. From the Cradle. Review of the Hebrew incunabula from the Gunzburg collection.

Sergei Kukushkin and Nikita Sokolov present an anonymous manuscript (first half of the 20th century) entitled "A Hermit Who Draws Sounds" and ask a question, what is an ideal alphabet.

The issue is concluded with traditional columns: "Orientnet" and "Reader".

The «Orientnet» heading is not just a kind of guide-book on Internet resources about the Orient but also an opportunity to exchange information. Please mail (email) your wishes, suggestions and comments to the following address: orientnet@rsl.ru
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