For all, who are interested in the Orient

Восточная коллекция № 2, 2004 (17)

This issue of the Oriental Collection is published in conjunction with the 37th International Congress of Asian and North African Studies (ICANAS), which will be held in Moscow in August 2004.

Rostislav Rybakov, Professor, Director, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, President, ICANAS-37. Unity in Diversity
The motto chosen for this Congress, "Unity in Diversity", reflects the actual situation in the world today. By using this motto we want to stress that the only way to achieve stability in this modern rapidly changing world is through tolerant and constructive approach to diversity of traditions, cultures, mentalities, and heritage of civilisation.
Oriental Studies in the world now enter a new stage. Speaking most simply, Oriental Studies have passed from being a servant to colonial administrations through serving political and ideological blocks to the present situation, which differs drastically from everything that we had before. The age of globalisation, with all its advantages and shortcomings that have not yet been studied properly, fills Oriental Studies with new content on all levels - national, regional, and global. We need to discuss in depth this new situation.
Like any other discipline, Oriental Studies cannot be limited by national bounds. Serving, to a certain extent, some national interests, Oriental Studies ultimately belong to whole mankind, because this discipline studies human beings, their history, their self-knowledge, their self-manifestation, and complex interrelations between specific and common.


Olga Gorodetskaya. The first meeting with Early Snow on the Yang-tze
The article contains a detailed description of the background story, principles of composition, style and technique of hand scroll Early Snow on the River by Chao K'an (10th century), a unique masterpiece of the early Chinese landscape painting. Based on the autographs of the Emperor Li Yu (961-975, Southern T'ang), Hui-tsung (1101-1125, Sung) Ch'ien-lung (1736-1795, Ch'ing), as well as the calligraphic inscriptions and name stamps of other emperors and renowned scholars, we attempt to relate a more than a thousand years long history of this painting, the only surviving art work of Chao K'an. The article also provides a translation of all the calligraphic inscriptions and stamps.
The article is based on the materials compiled by Hu San-ling and Chiang Chao-shen, the staff members of the National Palace Museum, Taiwan. A photo of the hand scroll is published by courtesy of the National Palace Museum.

Enar Gadzhiev. Keeping to the Letter
Every Russian translation of the Quran is a stage on the way to almost unachievable perfection. When reading prose translations, one cannot but feel discontent. The author translated several Suras of the Quran, trying to convey the sacred and spiritual nature of The Book. His aim was to keep to the letter of the Quran as close as possible and not to diverge from the standards of Islamic exegesis. His most sincere wish was to make the readers actually hear the Prophet's voice - living, restless, and uneven.

Olga Vasilyeva.Whose Album Is It? The History of a Search
Muraqqa'-album of Indian and Persian miniatures and specimens of calligraphy (shelf number Dorn 489) is a real masterpiece of Persian book art. Nevertheless, the history of its journey towards the bookshelves of the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg has been unknown so far. The author attempts to find out when and where from the Library acquired this album.

Uri Gershowitz, Arkady Kovelman. Alexander the Great and the Jewish Sages
The first Russian translation of Masekhet Tamid 31b-32, an aggadic fragment of the Babylonian Talmud, is followed by a commentary, which makes visible the composition of the fragment, its major stylistic and historical features, as well as the reception of the fragment in mediaeval Jewish philosophy. The fragment is a Talmudic version of the so called Alexander Romance by Pseudo-Callisthenes. The Talmudic story of Alexander the Great has all the features of late antique cynicism. At the same time it is related to Jewish tradition in a very organic way. Interestingly enough, Jewish philosophers took this fragment to prove that Aristotle, the teacher of Alexander the Great, believed in the creation of the world.

Dmitry Voskresensky The Lithographer's Pictorial
Dianshizhai huabao, an illustrated newspaper that was wide known and popular in China, played a great role in the development of publishing in 1880es and later. The paper was remarkable in combining printed text and illustrations, which increased its appeal to readers. Its texts varied in subject from serious aspects of domestic and foreign policy of the Manchu Kingdom to the minute details of the people's daily life. Quite a few illustrations depicted life outside China, which especially interested local readers. These fine and elegant illustrations followed traditions of Chinese painting and calligraphy.

Vladimir Larchenko. Open Letters
The article is dedicated to the several-dimensional world of old post-cards collector, interested in Egyptology and Egyptomania. The most famous series of post-cards like - LL - "Lenhert & Landrock", historical materials about creation of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and Egyptian collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, are adjoined on these sometimes unique objects with the atmosphere of the "Discovery of Egypt" of the 18th-19th centuries and works of well-known Russian and foreign artists, like S. Bakalovitch or G. Kalmykov. The author, the owner of the collection and Egyptologist, presents in the article amazing and entertaining stories of purchasing of different post-cards with Egyptian subjects based on many years of travelling round Egypt and Europe. The special interest of the author is concentrated upon disappeared ancient monuments, remained on the old post-cards, such as the temple of Medamoud or the original view of Giza Plateau. Important questions about some Egyptian monuments in Russia and their reflection in philocartia are also examined in this article.

The Land of Orient

Alexander Nariniani. Himalayan Etiquette
An overview of some traditional notions of politeness, good manners, as well as superstitions and taboos typical to Buddhist ethnos of the region.
Those travelers who care about the way locals perceive them must take into account the deep rooted view often found in the minds of the aboriginal population that Westerners are somewhat snobbish, disrespectful and ignorant of local customs and ways of dealing with social situations.
How can one avoid offending the feelings of the faithful by acting carelessly at Buddhist temples, monasteries or shrines? How should one treat others' shoes? What's wrong with your left hand? What are the "no-no" things at the table if you are invited to dinner in a Tibetan family? How do you interpret various gestures and exclamations peculiar to Tibetan people? What is believed to bring bad luck and what is considered to be an auspicious sign?
Your knowledge of these matters can make a difference, and by leveling the cross-cultural barriers help you to establish a warm rapport with your hosts, based on mutual respect, and deeper understanding of each other's cultural background.
This article will be of theoretical interest for all those curious about living culture and customs of the Buddhist East, and of practical value for every traveler, headed to discover the magical realm of the ancient Himalayas.

Valentina Kharitonova. Bayir Rinchinov. "You're Within Me, I'm Within You; Together We're A Single Whole..."
The shaman's technique of "inviting the spirit", which is practiced in the Aginsk Buryat Autonomous District, is compared to the best-known technique of shaman's journey. The article is based on fieldwork and experiment, including rituals performed by Bayir Rinchinov. The authors examine altered states of consciousness that result from various techniques, and the way in which shamans and observers perceive virtual images.

Vladimir Belyakov. Russian Paths to Sinai
For centuries holy sights of Sinai - the Burning Bush and the Mountain of Moses - have been traditional places of pilgrimage for Orthodox Russians. Moreover, between 1689 and 1917 Russia was an official protector of St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai. These special relations between Sinai Orthodox Church and Russia left a lot of material traces. St. Catherine's Monastery accumulated dozens of manuscripts, icons, church-ware of Russian origin. But most of these items are still unknown in Russia itself, and the history of Russian relations with Sinai is not written yet. To fulfill these gaps, a group of Russian scholars visited the Sinai Monastery. They worked on a catalogue of Russian manuscripts and looked through some documents in the Monastery's archive. The most important findings were six certificates of Russian Tsars of the 17th century.

Irina Glushkova. Maharashtra: History and Imagination
The article grew out of the analysis of a violent reaction to Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, a book written by a distinguished American scholar Prof. James W.Laine.
Starting from this point Irina Glushkova turns to regional peculiarities of Maharashtra and traces the history of the land and its people beginning from the tenth century A.D. Shivaji, the historic hero of the seventeenth century, is found among the most valued cultural symbols relevant for understanding of the Maharashtrian ethos. He is promoted as a national emblem by different communities of the region, and its main asmita (self-pride and identity). The communities, in their turn, especially chitpavan brahmans, marathas and dalits, have contributed to shaping of the cultural profile of the region, and have colloborated with and confronted each other in pursuit of power. Such is the present day situation in Maharashtra, too, focused on Parliament and Assembly pools, while its political leaders resort to the image of the great hero in the time of need.

Marina Mongush People of Blue Necklace. Journey to Tuvans Living in Sinkaing
This article is devoted to various aspects of everyday life of Tuvan population in Sinkaing-Uighur Autonomous District of China. At the moment small ethnolocal group of Tuvans (approximately 4,000) lives in Altay aimag of Sinkiang, where they have their own settlements, Ak-Khabane, Khanas, and Khom. Having lived separately from the Tuvan majority in Russia for quite a long time, the Chinese Tuvans created very specific models of material and spiritual culture. The author describes these peculiarities on the basis of her fieldwork research made in 1993. At the same time the Tuvans of China and Russia still have many common features, which are analysed in the article. Besides, the author focuses on their family structure, main occupations, garments, food, and language situation including the problem of preservation of their native tongue.

Elizaveta Malinina. The heart of the old monk (The poetic world of Ryocan)
The article introduces, for the first time in the Russian oriental studies, the name of Ryokan, a Zen monk and poet of the 17th century who is well-known Japan. Taking some of the most representative verses of Ryokan, translated from Japanese and English, the author makes an attempt to present aesthetic, semantic and stylistic context of Ryokan's work, as well as to show the profundity and skill of his poetic gift based on aesthetics and the main ideas of Zen Buddhism.

Lyubov Solovyeva. "The Lords Came to See Us and Made Us Happy…"
According to the traditional Georgian beliefs, some infectious diseases were called "the Lords" (batonebi), or "the Angels" (angelozebi). As a rule, such disease "visited" a person once in a lifetime only, and therefore it was regarded as a sacred duty, a service to God. The people believed that some supernatural creatures, which appeared in the house, caused such diseases.
To cure the patient and keep his relatives from danger, it was necessary to please "the Lords" in every way possible, to make them feel nice. Near the patient, who in that period personified "the Lords" themselves, it was necessary to keep silence, to use bright coloured fabrics and clothes, to keep away from annoying and strong odours, piercing objects. The patient's relatives were not allowed to smoke, to drink alcohol, to slaughter animals, to shoot, even to speak in a loud voice and to quarrel.
The people entertained "the Lords" by special songs and dances; they laid "the Lords' table" with ritual food and erected "the Lords' tree" decorated with viands and bright ribbons. When the patient was cured, the people held the ceremony of "seeing-off the Lords".
When batonebi came, it was also thought reasonable to pray for help to St. Barbara, to St. John the Baptist, and to St. Queen Tamara; the other efficient means of cure included a vow to bring a sacrificial animal to the church, and others.

Maria Gerasimova. Ildar Khanov's Temple of All Faiths
The artist Ildar Khanov has studied Buddhism, Yoga, Tibetan and Chinese medicine; he was acquainted with Javaharlal Nehru, brothers Yuri and Svyatoslav Roerich, and many prominent cultural activists. He had several personal exhibitions, but in 1994 he returned to Tatarstan, his homeland. Since that time he has been building a wonderful temple in his native village Arakchino, using his own money. The temple is to unite 16 religions, those that are active today and those that belong to the distant past. Khanov's aim is to proclaim that all religions, cultures and civilizations on Earth are equal. He believes that "our task today is to unite the mankind, to show them a way to solidarity".
As usual, in the end of this issue our reader will find traditional columns: "Reader" and "Orientnet".

© 1999-2024 Russian State Library