E. Rezvan

MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia

E-mail: efim.rezvan@mail.ru


St. Petersburg Kunstkamera On‑Line Catalogues. III. Towards the Description of Anton Sevruguin Photographic Collection (Dervishes Images)

Abstract. Systematizing the Sufi collections of Saint-Petersburg Kunstkamera, we drew attention to a series of 56 photographs of dervishes made in Persia in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries by Anton Vasilievich Sevruguin (1830's—1933). They represent not only a serious historical and cultural interest, but also have undoubted practical value, giving to the hands of experts an important material for attribution of little-studied Sufi ritual accessories and elements of traditional garb of dervishes. The Sevruguin works present also some elements of dervish hierarchy and features of family relations in their milieu. The photographs preserved for us also the appearance of a number of outstanding Sufi figures — Sevruguin contemporaries. Careful study and detailed scientific description of both the Sevruguin works and photos of the dervishes from Turkey and Central Asia, also widely represented in the MAE collection, will give the researcher a diverse and interesting material related to the Sufi practices and way of life of a khanagah. Such work would also give possibility to check and improve seriously the documentation of the photographs from the rich collection of MAE RAS. At present, with certain confidence it can be argued that almost all the collections associated with Iran and registered in the MAE in the first half of the 20th century may contain Sevruguin's works.

Key words: Anton (Antoin, Antoin-Khan) Sevruguin (Севрюгин, Sevryugin, Sevrugian), photographic collection, Peter the Great Museum of anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, dervish, Sufi ritual accessories, elements of traditional dervish garb, late Qajar period

Acknowledgement. The study was realized in the framework of the scientific program of the International Centre for Islamic studies (St. Petersburg, Russia).


  • Zaka, Y. & Semsar, H. M. (1997), Tarikh-e ‘akkasi wa ‘akkasan-e pishgam dar Iran [History of Photography and Pioneer Photographers in Iran], Tehran: ‘Elmi-Farhangi Publications.
  • Adle, C. & Zaka, Y. (1983), “Notes et documents sur la photographie Iranienne et son histoire”, Studia Iranica, vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 249—280.
  • Afshar, I. (1371/1992), Ganjine-ye aks-haye Iran. Hamrah-e tarikhche-ye vorud-e akkasi be Iran [A Treasury of Early Iranian Photographs Together with a Concise Account of how Photography was First Introduced in Iran], Teheran: Nashr-e Farhang-e Iran.
  • Afshar, I. (1983), “Some remarks on the early history of photography in Iran,” in E. Bosworth & C. Hillenbrand (eds.), Qajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change, 18001925, Edinburgh: Mazda Pub.
  • Behdad, A. (2001), “The power-ful [sic] art of Qajar photography: orientalism and (self)-orientalizing in Nineteenth Century Iran”, Iranian Studies, vol. 34, pp. 141—151.
  • Iwanow, W. (1927), “Jargon of Persian mendicant darvishes”, Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 5, No. 23, pp. 243—245.
  • Krasberg, U. (ed.) (2008/2009), Sevrugian. Bilder des Orients in Fotografie und Malerei 1880–1980, Frankfurt am Main: Museum der Weltkulturen.
  • Navab, A. D. (2002), “To be or not to be an orientalist? The ambivalent art of Antoin Sevrugin”, Iranian Studies, vol. 35, pp. 113—144.
  • Rezvan, E. (2014a), “St. Petersburg Kunstkamera on-line catalogues. I. ‘The ethnographic drawing’”, Manuscripta Orientalia, vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 68—72.
  • Rezvan, E. (2014b), “St. Petersburg Kunstkamera on-line catalogues. II. ‘The photo collection: peoples of Russia’”, Manuscripta Orientalia, vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 57—67.
  • Rezvan, E. (2016), Turkestan, St. Petersburg — Almaty: MAE RAS — National branch of the Interstate TV and Radio Company “Mir” in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • Rezvan, E. (with the assist. of A. Y. Kudryavtseva & T. M. Fedorova] (2011), In the Mirrors of Time: Dialogue of Cultures in the “Russian World”, St. Petersburg: MAE RAS.
  • Romaskevich, A. A. (1945), “K voprosu o zhargone iranskih dervishej” [“To the question of the jargon of Iranian dervishes”], Iranskie jazyki, vol. 1, pp. 141—144.
  • Sarre, F. & Herzfeld, E. (1911), Iranische Felsreliefs, Berlin: Verlegt bei Ernst Wasmuth A. G.
  • Soboleva, E. S. (2013), “Jugo-zapadnaja Azija kak jetnograficheskoe prostranstvo na rubezhe XIX—XX vekov” [“South-West Asia as an ethnographic space at the turn of the 19th—20th centuries”], Radlovskij sbornik. Nauchnye issledovanija i muzejnye proekty MAJE RAN v 2012 g., Ju. K. Chistov (ed.), St. Petersburg: MAE RAS, pp. 316—318.
  • Van Waalwijk van Doorn, F. B. & Vogelsang-Eastwood, G. M. (eds.) (1378/1999), Sevruguin's Iran / Iran az negah Sevruguin, Late Nineteenth Century Photographs of Iran from the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, Netherlands, Teheran / Rotterdam: Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde.
  • Vuurman, C. J. M. & Martens, T. H. (1999), “Early photography in Iran and the career of Antoin Sevruguin”, in F. Bohrer (ed.), Sevruguin and The Persian Image, Photographs of Iran, 18701930, Washington, D. C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle: University of Washington Press.


Copyright © 2010-2016 Manuscripta Orientalia. All rights reserved.

Sign In