A. Kudriavtceva


MAE (Kunstkamera), RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia

E‑mail: kudriavtsevaa@mail.ru


E. Rezvan


MAE (Kunstkamera), RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia

E‑mail: efim.rezvan@mail.ru


M. Rezvan


MAE (Kunstkamera), RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia

E‑mail: marrez@mail.ru


Russian Sources of Qur’anic Ethnography II. Alexander A. Adamov and His “Arabic Iraq”


Abstract. The scholarly and documentary heritage, the museum collections associated with the name of Alexander A. Adamov (1870—1938), one of the leading Russian diplomats and practicing orientalists at the eve of the First World War, are undoubtedly an important source for studying the history of the Middle East at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of the rivalry of the great powers in the region. Today, however, the significance of Adamov's texts and collections takes on yet another dimension. It is Qur’anic ethnography, a new scientific field, based on the results of specialized studies of previous years, and it is closely related to the studies of the Qur’anic language and the language milieu of Arabia at the time of the Prophet, to the ethnographical field studies in Arabia and Qur’anic archaeology. Researchers of Arabia are very well familiar with the phenomenon of the long preservation of elements of traditional tangible culture and economic activities here. This phenomenon is mostly based on the specific natural and climatic conditions, which brought about a set of elements of tangible culture that have proved to be highly viable throughout many centuries. In this connection, we regard the itineraries and works of European travellers to Arabia in the second half of the 18th century — first third of the 20th century as a serious source for our research. Whereas the names and papers of the Western travellers are well‑known and have been often referred to in various research projects devoted to Arabia, similar Russian works are still waiting for their turn. The second article of the series is dedicated to the activities of a man who devoted a significant part of his life to the study of Iraq and the Gulf region, the areas that played a huge role in the complex and largely ambiguous processes that led to the emergence of Islam. Accurate historical and ethnographic observations of Adamov make it possible to obtain material that is important for the reconstruction of territorial units and types of settlements, types of clothing and dwellings, the specifics of water supply and irrigation methods, agriculture and horticulture, the role of different types of animals in economic circulation, and nutritional systems typical for Arabia in the time of the rise of Islam.


Keywords: Alexander A. Adamov, early 20th century Russian travellers to the Near East and the Gulf area, the Qur’an, Qur’anic ethnography, Russian politics in the East and the Muslim world


Acknowledgement. The idea of the series arose thanks to the kind invitations of Dar al‑Athar al‑Islamiyya (Kuwait, January, 2011), Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman (March, 2017) and University College of London, Qatar (April — May, 2018), which gave to Efim Rezvan the opportunity to work with the collections of museums and libraries of Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.


DOI: 10.31250/1238-5018-2021-27-1-45-60




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Received by the Editorial Board: 29.01.2021


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