PHOTO-ILLUSTRATIVE COLLECTIONS OF A.S.FORSHTEIN
in the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
(from the series "Siberia Viewed by Ethnographers. Beginning of XX century")
Photographic collection of A.S.Forshtein in the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
houses three collections of negative patterns granted by A.S.Forshtein.
The first collection (№ И 104) - the Chukot - contains photos of the Chukchee and their
settlements over Chukot Peninsular. The second collection (№ И 115) - the Eskimoan - is composed
of photos of the Eskimos and their villages within Chukotka. The third one (№ И 429) was
completed in 1935 in the photographic laboratories of the Museum and encloses photographs
of handiwork made of carved ivory bought in the village of Ungazik. This handiwork
belonged to A.S.Forshtein.
Collection № И 115 General Description
It is recorded in the registration book of the Peter
the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography that the collection of negative patterns was
granted by A.S.Forshtein in 1929. The collection was registered by A.S.Forshtein only in 1936:
the typed collection inventory is finalized by handwritten date of the work completion -
10 April, 1936.
It is noted in the registration book that, based on Forshtein's
words, the collection № И 115 contains 150 negative patterns. The collection inventory, done
by Forshtein, lacks three items (№№ 30, 126 and 127), Forshtein registered 147 negative patterns
correspondingly. The inventory is not much detailed and is designed as brief legends to the photos.
An annotation to each negative pattern contains name of a village and names of pictured people
but does not contain the date. A.S. Forshtein writes on the title of inventory about the origin
of the negative patterns - "from the expeditions (probably from several missions) to settlements
of the Asian Eskimos within 1927-1929".
The collection contains negative patterns on glass, 9x12. Besides,
control prints (9x12) were made of the most of the patterns. 6 negative patterns, from which no
prints were made, had been lost, as well as 13 negative patterns with preserved control prints.
Judging by the photos of the Eskimoan collection, A.S.Forshtein
visited the main areas inhabited by the Asian Eskimos (Naukan, Sirenik, Chaplin).
He spent a lot of time at the far North-East of Chukot Peninsular in
Naukan (23 negatives), visited trading station
at the village of Dezhnevo (2 negatives),
village of Imaklik (4 negatives) on the island of
Ratmanov. The southernmost point of his journeys was the settlement
Sireniki (11 negatives) and
Imtuk which is 5 km north (23 negatives). The longest
stay was in Ungazik (62 negatives). He visited two
times the settlement of Siklyuk (8 negatives)
located on the cognominal island in the Straight of Senjavin and Yanrakynnot (1 negative).
His journey from Ungazik to Sireniki and Imtuk is marked by photographs of sights over
Chukot-Eskimoan settlement of Tasek (1 negative), over trading post in the Providence Bay
(1 negative), over the Cape of Centennium (1 negative) and over the settlement of
Avan (2 negatives).
Preparation of photographic materials was done in 2003 by the
laboratory of audio and visual anthropology of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and
Ethnography. Our credits to Nikita Ushakov (general management), Aleksandr Tikhomirov
(the main amount of work), Ekaterina Tolmachova. The laboratory processed
140 items (125 negative patterns and 15 control prints). The photographs were
used as the source material only in case of lack of the negative patterns.
The negative patterns and prints were scanned and processed (retouch, light correction).
The negative patterns were done at a good professional level and were well preserved,
though there were some damages (crashes, exfoliation, etc.). The poor resolution of a number
of the negative patterns is explained by low quality of photo tools. The effect of light and
shadow on the prints is not so strong as on the negative patterns. The above factors
influence the quality of the materials.
Until now the subject materials had not been widely used.
There are two publications: "Народы Сибири" (М.; Л., 1956) (Peoples of Siberia) and
"Историко-этнографический атлас Сибири" (М.; Л., 1961) (Historic and Ethnographical Atlas of
Siberia). In the Peoples of Siberia magazine, article The Eskimos, you may see pictures № И 115-68
(a hunter in full outfit) and № И 115-35, № И 115-49 (winter and summer dwellings). The last ones
you may see in the Atlas also.
The Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
(Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, the Arctic Research Center (Smithsonian Institute,
Washington, the USA), the Yupik society of the Asian Eskimos, the Museum of Beringian Heritage
develop the project called The Knowledge Return. This project is aimed to open the museum and
archive collections for the indigenous peoples and local culture and education
institutions of Chukotka.