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New story: Ethnographic collections of naturalist Peter Simon Pallas
New story: Ethnographic collections of naturalist Peter Simon Pallas
In the second half of the 18th century, the Academy of Sciences organized a collection of materials through scientific expeditions “for a comprehensive description of the nature and population of the Russian Empire.” Scientists studied the history, geography, nature, economics and culture of the peoples of the Volga region, the Urals, the European North, Siberia, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. These expeditions, which are often called Physical, constituted the glory of Russian science. Today they are striking in scale of comprehensive studies and geographical range. One of the leaders of the Physical Expeditions was Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811), an encyclopaedist, a natural scientist; academician, professor of natural history of the Academy of Sciences and head of the Natural History Cabinet of the Kunstkamera since 1767. In 1768 -1774, Pallas explored the steppes around Astrakhan, the Urals, the Altai Mountains and the Baikal region. The scientist presented research materials in fundamental publications that are recognized by scientific primary sources on the culture of many peoples of Eurasia. Collecting for the Kunstkamera was an important part of the work of the expeditions. Pallas brought to the museum extensive natural science collections. The ethnographic collection of the Kunstkamera was replenished with collections gathered by Pallas in the Volga region. The museum also holds a collection of Mongolian, Kalmyk Burkhans and objects related to the beliefs of the Mongols. Now the Pallas collection in the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography is one of the oldest Russian ethnographic collections, which is of great value not only for studying the culture of various nations, but also for studying the history of science and museum work in Russia. The online catalog presents the Pallas collection on the ethnography of the peoples of the Volga region (MAE No 766) in full, Siberai (828), as well as part of its collection on Buddhist sculpture (MAE No 719).
24.07.2018. Kunstkamera's collections on the Indians of California now online
Ethnography of the Central Asia peoples by aquarelles of A. Pomerantsev