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Turkish Literature and Folklore in Manuscripts of the Collection of the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum

PIIS086919080009624-3-1
DOI10.31857/S086919080009624-3
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Senior Research Fellow
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Studies RAS
Journal nameVostok. Afro-Aziatskie obshchestva: istoriia i sovremennost
EditionIssue 3
Pages168-174
Abstract

The article deals with the collection of arabographic manuscripts, litographs and old-printed books of the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum. It contains about 200 items and was primarily formed by the manuscripts which were brought to the Oriental Museum in Yalta in course of archeographic and ethnographic expeditions of the 1920s to the Tatar villages of the Crimean southern coast. The Oriental Museum was established in Yalta in 1921 and existed until 1930. One of the main goals of the Museum was to preserve the traditional culture of the Muslims of Crimea, especially the Crimean Tatars. The expeditions carried out by the Museum under supervision of Yakup Kemal (1887–1938), the director of the Museum. He held this position till March 1929. In 1930, the Oriental museum was merged with the Yalta Museum of Local Lore – later the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum. It is considered that the closure and disbandment of the Oriental Museum in Yalta led to the liquidation of its funds and archives, but the collection of its manuscripts (and also litographs and old-printed books) in Turkic, Arabic and Persian languages was preserved and later was found in the funds of the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum. Some of those manuscripts were attributed and described in accordance with the established in Russian oriental codycology scheme of description of arabographic manuscripts. The collection includes copies of the Koran, manuals on Arabic and Persian languages, dictionaries, treatises on Sufism. Most of the collection consists of manuscripts in Ottoman Turkish language on various branches of Islamic theology and law, as well as treatises on astronomy and medicine. Only a few works of literature can be distinguished among Turkic manuscripts of this collection (these are various destans, poetical divans, didactical treatises).

Keywordscollections of manuscripts, Crimea, Islam, Ottoman Empire, Turkish literature, Turkiс folklore, dictionaries
AcknowledgmentThe study was funded by PFBR according to the research project no. 19-09-00169 “Catalogue of Arabic, Persian and Turkish Manuscripts and Old Printed Books at Yalta Museum for History and Literature”.
Publication date22.06.2020
Number of characters15539

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1 The Yalta Historical and Literary Museum contains a fairly representative collection of manuscripts and old-printed books in Arabic, Persian and Turkic languages (about 200 items). The collection was primarily formed by the manuscripts which were brought to the Museum in course of archeographic expeditions of the 1920s in Crimea.
2

The history of the collection

3 The Oriental Museum was established in Yalta in 1921 and existed until 1930. One of the main goals of the Museum was to preserve the traditional culture of the Muslims of Crimea, especially the Crimean Tatars: “Priority was given to written sources and things from the era of the Crimean khanate. The Museum... had to play a leading role in preserving the culture of the Crimea. The Oriental Museum was planned as a logical continuation of the Bakhchisarai Museum, where only the culture of the Muslims of the Crimea was represented...” [Musayeva, 2014, p. 176]. The activities of the Museum in the 1920s, quite well recorded in various preserved archival documents, are currently extensively studied. The most researched part is the history of replenishment of various ethnographic collections, primarily related to the culture and life of the Crimean Tatars. Thus, it is reported that “the staff [of the Museum] was sent to Tatar villages to search for ethnographic material. Thanks to this expedition, a loom, chests, and women's metal jewelry were purchased. At the same time, work was underway to create a catalog of the Museum”; also the employees of the Museum gave lectures on history, art and ethnography of the Crimean muslims [Musayeva, 2014, p. 176].
4 In 1927, Yakup Memetovich (Memet-oglu) Kemal (1887–1938), an Arabist and the former student of A. E. Krymsky, once the rector of the Zinjirli madrasah, became the director of the Museum. His priority was to collect materials on the history and culture of the Crimean Tatars, as well as manuscripts in Turkic, Arabic and Persian (along with other items of material culture of the Tatars of the Crimean southern coast). At the same year, the Oriental Museum in Yalta under his direction carried out three ethnographic expeditions. At the end of March 1927 there was the first expedition to the coastal villages located between Alushta and Sudak; in September 1927 the second expedition took place to the villages of Oreanda, Koreiz, Miskhor, Kekeneiz; and the third one was set off in November-December again to the Sudak region – from Baydar to Sudak). Apparently, the manuscripts that formed the core of the Museum's manuscript collection were collected as a result of these expeditions. According to some publications, Yakup Kemal started to work on the description of some manuscripts on Arabic language from this collection.
5 In the same year, in October 1927, a manuscript collection of 65 manuscripts in Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages, which has been initiated by Yakup Kemal, was briefly reported by V. A. Gordlevsky [Gordlevsky, 1968, p. 257–261]. In 1929 Yakup Kemal was removed from the position of director of the Oriental Museum, and the Museum itself was closed indeed a year later (in 1930, it was merged with the Yalta Museum of Local Lore – later the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum).
6 It is considered that the closure and disbandment of the Oriental Museum in Yalta led to the liquidation of its funds and archives, but the collection of its manuscripts (and also litographs and old-printed books) in Turkic, Arabic and Persian languages was preserved and later was found in the funds of the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum.
7

The content and the description of the collection

8 In 2019, a preliminary list of manuscripts, lithographs, and old printed books was compiled, they were grouped by language (Arabic, Persian, and Turkic), chronology, and subject matter. Some of the manuscripts were attributed and described in accordance with the established in Russian oriental codycology scheme of description of arabographic manuscripts.
9 The structure of the description corresponds to the general principles of description of such manuscripts [Khalidov, 1986; Gacek, 2001]: code of the manuscript; the title of the work in the Arabic script; translation of the title of the manuscript into Russian; the name of the work. By specifying the name of the author of the work we also indicate (if it is possible) differences in the versions of the name, the middle name, nickname, place of origin and possible literary pseudonym; date of copy of the manuscript; name and nickname of the copyist; receipts of former owners, containing names and dates, brief characteristics of other attributes; seals that are stamped on the manuscript; the name of the former owner or a collection, which included the manuscript. We also indicate the size of the manuscript, number of pages, information about the oriental catchwords and pagination with possible errors in it, the number of lines per page, text size, characteristics of paper, ink, type of handwriting, decorations and miniatures of the cover (i.e. description of execution and the name of the bookbinder). Particular attention was paid to the notes in the margins, glosses, seals of different waqf libraries, owner's inscriptions and bindings, as they, being an independent historical source, allow us to establish how did the manuscripts got to the Crimea and to this collection.

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