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For all, who are interested in the Orient

Восточная коллекция № 1, 2008 (32)

“Marrakesh”, a picture story by Gleb Shulpyakov, opens this issue as our “Impressions” section.

Year of Russia in India

2008 is declared the Year of Russia in China. Our magazine starts publishing materials about Indian culture, and about traditional relations between our countries.

Irina Glushkova. Sacred Chain: Between Prayag and Allahabad. Once in every year, there is one moment in the life of ancient Prayag, modern Allahabad, which the citizens of this city are awaiting with anticipation, whereas the administration is full of fear. The month of magh, the coldest time in Northern India that lasts from mid-January to mid-February, is regarded as the best time for spiritual advance, which is accomplished by daily ablutions.

Svetlana Ryzhakova. Seven Times Round the Sacred Fire. India is the country that unites quite a few peoples, religions, castes, and classes. This is the reason for such diverse variety of marriage rites and customs in this country. Yet the Hindus, the Jains, the Sikhs, the Christians, and the Moslems have many common aspects in preparing and conducting marriage festivities.

“Orientnet”. The next issue of this section reviews the Web resources on the religions of India.

Writings

Dmitriy Sevruk. Eccentric Lady in Bedouin’s Robes. This essay reconstructs the biography of Isabella Eberhardt (1877-1904), a writer and journalist, an adventurer and traveler, who wrote her works in French, Arabic, and Russian. We also publish one of Isabella Eberhardt’s stories, translated into Russian.

Mark Ulyanov. What a 12th Century Chinese Official Found Funny in Southern Hunan. The author presents a fragment from the Collection of Funny Things about Mountain Barbarians, a work by Zhu Fu about the gelao people. These people still live in Guizhou Province.

The Land of Orient

Gleb Shulpyakov. Jamaa al-Fna. The diptych by the renowned poet and essayist is a continuation of his picture story, which features in the “Impressions” section. This time Shulpyakov focuses on the main mosque and main square of Marrakesh, a city in Morocco.

Vladimir Belyakov. Prima and Maestro. The author continues the series of articles about renowned Russians who visited Egypt. This time he turned to the biography of Anna Pavlova, the famous prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theatre. She has been to Egypt more than once, not only for sightseeing, but also giving performances on the stage.

Igor Melanyin, Mark Ulyanov. A Voyage to the Seas of the Celestial Empire. An account of the trip of Russian librarians to the People’s Republic of China. In the course of their journey, they have visited several libraries that have very long history, but nowadays operate using most up-to-date information technologies.

Igor Chininov. Islands of Stone Money. The aborigines of Yap Island, which is a part of the Caroline Islands, comparatively recently had used stone disks as coins in their trade. Ultimately, contacts with the outer world changed the function of these stone money that became exotic monuments of the past.

Marina Al-Rabaki. My Fingers Smelled of Incense... For the Yemenites, incensing is a daily ritual, which is performed in the morning and in the evening. The most expensive fragrances they buy for marriage ceremonies and religious rites. They include incense, myrrh, “dragon’s blood”, “angel’s nails”, and various mixtures.

Mikhail Shenkar. Findings in the City of David. City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, is the object of active archaeological research. The scholars have already found quite a few artifacts, which throw more light on the ancient history of this place.

Mark Goloviznin. Al-Qahirah – Victorious Capital. The tourists do not favour parts of Cairo, which attracted the author’s attention: Christian quarters, Middle Age side-streets, numerous mosques...

Vladimir Kolupaev. Keeping Their Identity... The Russian emigre community in China after the 1917 Revolution included, among others, a group of people belonging to Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church, who managed to keep their faith and traditions.

Yelena Voytishek. Japanese Art of Fragrance Arrangement. Japanese intellectual games and entertainment are an integral part of traditional culture and reflection of national identity. And “fragrance comparison” is not an exception in this sense. Besides evaluating the fragrances themselves, the people who played this game also valued the art of finding suitable names for them.

Neli Gromova, Yelena Stroganova. What Kanga Tells Us. Kanga is a piece of cotton fabric worn as a garment or headdress in East Africa. The most interesting aspect of kanga is the writing, the so called “message”. The authors present these messages arranged by subject, which may be amorous and political, everyday and political.

Sergey Smorodkin. The Escapade. The fate of Aleksandr Griboedov, his works, and his tragic death will never cease to attract the scholars’ attention. One could call this publication a literary investigation. Based on various witness accounts and sudden comparisons, the author builds an original version of the last days of Russian poet and diplomat.

Please e-mail your wishes, suggestions and comments to the following address: orientnet@rsl.ru.

You can find the summaries of the previous issues online, by visiting our section of the Russian State Library Web-site: http://orient.rsl.ru/en/
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