E. Teryukova, E. Zavidovskaya, O. Khizhniak

State Museum of the History of Religion, Russia; St. Petersburg State University, Russia

E‑mail: eaterioukova@mail.ru

National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

E‑mail: katushaza@yahoo.com

State Museum of the History of Religion, Russia

E‑mail: olgakhizh@mail.ru

 Academician V. M. Alekseev's Methods of Studying Chinese Popular Prints: Case of Collection from the State Museum of the History of Religions

 Abstract. The paper discusses methods of ethnographic field work applied by future leading Russian sinologist V. M. Alekseev (1881—1951) to a large collection of Chinese popular prints nianhua(年畫) that he acquired during his graduate traineeship in China (1906—1909). Being a pioneer of field work in China Russian sinologist faced paucity of reference materials and referred to unique methods of accumulating materials on Chinese popular culture and their interpretation, Alekseev had a wide circle of informants, among whom his language mentors, more or less well educated xiansheng (先生), and literate artisans from printing shops offered the biggest help by writing down explanations and comments for about three hundred popular prints. A part of these notes has been preserved at the archive of the State Museum of the History of Religions. The paper presents several examples of xiansheng's notes interpreting pictures with Door Gods menshen(門神) (there is total of 360 prints with Door Gods at SMHR collection) translated into English and offers detailed analysis of their importance for the current scholarship on late imperial Chinese popular visual culture.

 Key words: V. M. Alekseev's collection, sinology, popular print nianhua, hand‑written explanatory notes, Door God menshen, Chinese popular religion


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