53rd Meeting St. Petersburg, 2010

The 53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, held in Saint Petersburg in 2010, had its own web page at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts at the Russian Academy of Sciences: http://www.orientalstudies.ru/eng/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2530&Itemid=48

The programme of the Meeting and the list of participants are gleaned from that page, with only minimal corrections. The original book of abstracts is available at the website of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, but can also be found here.

Source: Unknown Treasures of the Altaic World in Libraries, Archives and Museums. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference, Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS, St. Petersburg, July 25 – 30, 2010. Edited by Tatiana Pang, Simone-Christiane Raschmann, Gerd Winkelhane. (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2013). 414 pp. ISBN: 978-3-87997-409-2 (Studien zur Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur der Türkvölker, 13), pp. 11–17.

The 53rd Meeting of the PIAC in Saint Petersburg

The 53rd meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference was hosted by the Institute of Oriental manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, in Saint Petersburg on July 25-30, 2010. It was the third meeting held in the Russian Federation after Moscow in 2005 and Kazan in 2007. The main theme of the 53rd Meeting was “Unknown Treasures of the Altaic World in Libraries, Archives and Museums”, and its aim was to introduce new materials and collections, which are still closed or unknown to the scholarly world.

The choice of Saint Petersburg and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts as the venue of the annual meeting is explained by their place in the history of Oriental studies – the former capital of Tzarist Russia with its archives and museums and the Asiatic Museum as a forerunner of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts retain valuable sources for the languages, history and culture of the Altaic peoples. The names of Saint Petersburg scholars in Altaic studies are known world-wide, such as Prof. V. I. Cincius, Academician A. N. Kononov, Prof. N. F. Baskakov, Prof. A. M. Shcherbak, Prof. L. P. Potapov, Prof. S. G. Klyashtorny who were awarded the Indiana University Prize for Altaic Studies, the so-called PIAC medal.

The co-organizers of the 53rd Meeting were the State Hermitage and the Fund of Oriental Cultures. Special thanks go to the Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey, the Museum of Russian Ethnography and the Russian State Scientific Fund.

This annual meeting was attended by nearly 100 scholars from Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Turkey, France, Japan, Romania, the US and Russia. During three working days we have listened to 80 papers.

The opening ceremony, which was held in the Imperial Theatre of the State Hermitage Museum, was opened by the President of the 53rd Meeting of the PIAC Dr Tatiana Pang and the Secretary General of the PIAC Dr Barbara Kellner-Heinkele. The guests were greeted by the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Academician Mihail Piotrovsky, the Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Saint Petersburg, H. E. Nemet Cinar, and the Director of the Fund of Oriental Cultures, Dr V. Blondin. As the Director Mihail Piotrovsky announced, the participants of the Conference had access to the Hermitage Museum free of charge during the whole week, and were invited for a special visit to the holdings as well. The Director of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Dr Irina Popova, spoke about the history of the Asiatic Museum, the present state of its manuscript collections, archives and current research. The opening meeting was concluded by the traditional “Confessions”, when every participant shortly introduced himself and gave an annual report on his current research.

The work of the conference was divided into the following sections: Collections and Archives, Archeology and Collections, Historiography, Beliefs and Religion, Mongolian Studies, Uighur and Runic Studies, Linguistics.

The chairpersons of the panels for the section “Beliefs and Religion” were Barbara Kellner-Heinkele and Alice Sárközi. E.Tryjarski (Poland) spoke about Buryat shamanism and Buddhism as seen by the Polish journalist, writer and politician of the 19th century, Agaton Giller. The paper by G. Stary (Italy) dealt with the mystery of colored vapours as a fortunate omen mentioned in the Manchu chronicles. D. Funk (Russia) made his report on two Shor heroic epics which were written down in South Siberia in the 20th century. The joint paper by F. Turan and N. Shaman Dogan (Turkey) was titled “Cosmic Tree and its Reflection on Anatolian Turkish Art” and described the “tree of life” as a symbol connecting heaven and earth and how it is rendered in architecture and popular arts. Barbara Kellner-Heinkele (Germany) spoke on rare Ottoman manuscripts on horticulture.

The section on Historiography (chairperson Jacques Legrand) was primarily formed by Turkish colleagues. In his paper B. Deniz paid attention to the insufficiently studied architectural monument Ak kesene of the Turkish period situated in the territory of modern Kazakhstan. I. Bozkurt spoke about “Archive treasure in Cyprus: The Ottoman Şer’i and Evkaf Registry of Cyprus” which illustrates all sides of society starting from 1571. Maps of the Altaic world kept in the libraries of Tiflis, Baku, Kazan, Moscow and Saint Petersburg were the topic of K. Nerimanoglu (Turkey). In this section presentations were also made by F. Güner Dilek (Turkey) on an unpublished manuscript by V.Verbitsky dealing with the Altaic peoples; by I. Gerasimov (Russia) on Islam in the Republic of Mongolia and Chinese province of Inner Mongolia; by H. Walravens (Germany) about the portrait of the Manchu officer Cemcukjab.
In the special section devoted to Uighur and Runic studies, leading Russian and German scholars in this field presented their research: S. Klyashtorny (“Sogdian noblemen in the Sogdian state”), I. V. Kormushin (“About the Choir Runic inscription at the end of the 7th century in Inner Mongolia”); L. Tugusheva (“A case of the influence of the written form of the word on its pronunciation – according to the early Medieval Uighuric texts”). Uighur manuscripts from the collections of Saint Petersburg and Berlin were the topics of S. Raschmann and P. Zieme. The joint paper by R. Turan and G. Kirpik (Turkey) dealt with the hegemonic symbolism of “tuğ” which appeared in the Xunnu times and later spread among the Uighurs, Seldjukids, Karahanids, Ottomans and was used in the vast area from Asia to Europe.

The Linguistics section was chaired by M. Dobrovits (Hungary) and I. V. Kormushin (Moscow). The scholars listened to and discussed 15 papers. Several of them were based on multi-language manuscripts and dictionaries: M. Balk (Germany) spoke about Hermann Consten’s encyclopaedic notes on things Mongolian; O. Corff (Germany) discussed a rare manuscript of a Manchu dictionary in five languages; D. Zhang spoke about two ways of noun definitions in the Kazakh language; Sechenchogt (PRC) showed a comparative analysis of five livestock names in the Altaic languages; Y. Saito (Japan) spoke about the terminative case in the Mongolian languages. Some papers touched ethnolinguistical problems, i.e. Ding Shiqing (PRC) showed linguistic models of Chinese citizens who speak the Evenki language. The ethno-linguistic materials of Ye. R. Sneider kept in Saint Petersburg were the topic of A. Girfanova’s paper (Saint Petersburg). The Uighur language syntax and pronunciation of the words written in the Kidan script were discussed by Litip Tohti (PRC). The relation between the Mongolian and classical Manchu languages, their typological similarities, as well as ethnographic reasons for their connections were the topic of the joint paper by L. Gorelova and M. Orlovskaya (Moscow), while the consonant system of the Manchu language was discussed by X. Guan (PRC).

The Mongolian studies section was the most representative. Its panels were chaired by A. Campi (USA), E. Boikova (Moscow), J. Legrand (France). A. Campi analyzed the diplomatic correspondence between Mongolia and the US in 1915-1927, which is now kept in the Mongolian National Archives and the Library of Congress in Washington. Some of the secret documents concern the last Mongolian theocratic leader – the 8th Bogdo-gegen. T. Nakami (Japan) spoke about the Qaracin version of the “Secret History of the Mongols”, the copy of which was made in the beginning of the 20th century and translated into Chinese by Wang Guoqing, a clerk of the South-Manchurian Railways Company in Inner Mongolia. The paper by Ulaan Borjigin (PRC) was devoted to four manuscript copies of the “Secret History of the Mongols” from the National Library in Beijing. R. Pop (Romania) made a detailed analysis of the anthology of Mongolian literature compiled by C. Damdinsuren in 1959. A. Sárközi (Hungary) spoke about the unique Mongol-Tibetan dictionary, the original of which is lost.

A special panel of this section was dedicated to folklore studies, which dealt with the Mongolian collections in various institutions. The Mongolian folk materials from the archives of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and its catalogue were the topic of K. Sagaster’s paper (Germany). I. Kulganek (Saint Petersburg) drew attention to “The Mongolian aphorisms in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS”; D. Nosov (Saint-Petersburg) spoke about folktales of Mongolian-speaking peoples from the same collection. New acquisitions of Mongolian manuscripts by the IOM RAS were the subject of N. Yakhontova’s presentation (Saint-Petersburg). The Mongolian “Namtar” (“Description of life”) by Milaraiba, a Tibetan hermit and Buddhist poet, is kept in Buryatia and was the topic of B. Dugarov’s paper (Ulan-Ude). E. Boikova (Moscow) devoted her paper to Krymov’s collection. The Oriental collections of Bulgaria were presented by A. Fedotov (Bulgaria), while J. Reckel (Germany) gave an overview of the collections of Altaic literatures at Göttingen University. The interdisciplinary paper by E. Taube (Germany) connected archaeology and literature and was titled “Archaeological finds reflecting folklore motives from Central Asia”. Literary connections of Altaic peoples as reflected in A. Pushkin’s works were the topic of V. Yakovlev’s paper (Moscow).

Of special interest were presentations of museum collections and archeological findings. O. Dyakova (Vladivostok) spoke about “Archaeological dimensions of the Xianbei tribes”, Z. Anayban (Moscow) showed newly discovered objects from the barrow “Arzhaan-2” which are presently kept in the national museum of the Tuwa republic. Items from the State Hermitage Museum were the subject of two presentations: N. Pchelin (together with M. Rudova) discussed the portrait painting of the 10th-11th century Central Asian murals, M. Menshikova identified a person on a Hermitage portrait of the Qing period. The Ethnographic Museum in Oslo keeps items of a shamanic costume, which were explained by M. Tatár (Oslo), while S. Tatár (Hungary) spoke about the image of the Golden Tara from a private collection in Budapest.

The 53rd Meeting of the PIAC did not limit its work to scholarly panels, but also used the opportunity to visit several museums. The participants of the Conference were invited by the director of the Russian Ethnographic Museum to see the permanent exhibition, the Central Asian collection and the temporary exhibition on Siberian shamanism. A special visit was organized to the Treasury of the museum where one could see jewelry from Central Asia which had been presented to the Russian tzars. The State Hermitage Museum opened its doors to the main collections on the Neva embankment, and on July 29, 2010 everyone was invited to the special department of restoration and the depository “Staraya Derevnya” (“The Old Village”) to see the Turfan murals which were brought to Russia from Germany as reparation after the World War II, in 1945-1946, and till our days were closed to the public. Dr Pchelin spoke about the history of those murals, their arrival to the State Hermitage Museum, and plans of conservation and restoration. Now these precious paintings are available for scholarly research and ready for exhibitions. The same day, the participants of the 53rd PIAC Meeting visited the main mosque and were given details about the Muslim community of Saint Petersburg.

We also had the honor of being invited to receptions offered by the Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Saint Petersburg, H. E. Nemet Cinar, and the Director of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Dr Irina Popova.

The traditional Business Meeting was held on the last day of the conference, where two important announcements were made. The first concerned the Indiana University Prize for Altaic Studies, known as the golden PIAC medal, awarded every year for outstanding achievements in Altaic studies. In 2010, Professor emeritus Seong Baegin of Seoul National University (Republic of Korea) was the recipient of this prestigious award. The meeting also elected the members of the 2011 PIAC medal committee including the Secretary General Dr Barbara Kellner-Heinkele (Germany), the President of the 53rd PIAC Meeting Dr Tatiana Pang (Russia), and the PIAC members of long standing Dr Rodica Pop (Romania), Dr Hartmut Walravens (Germany) and Dr Klaus Sagaster (Germany). It was further announced that the 54th Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference in 2011 would be hosted by Indiana University in Bloomington (USA) and its President would be Dr Alicia Campi.

Russian mass media and TV news channels reported on the work of the conference. The 53rd Meeting of the PIAC held in Saint Petersburg was not only an opportunity for international scholars to exchange the results of their recent studies, but also a chance to see unique collections and new places.

We are thankful to Mr Gerd Winkelhane, director of the Klaus Schwarz Publishing House, for publishing the Proceedings of the 53rd PIAC Meeting. When collecting the papers, I followed the suggestion of our dear late Denis Sinor who used to say that Proceedings should not consist of lengthy articles, but show scholars’ current view as presented at the conference in question. In this volume, every author is responsible for his or her own opinion. However, I ventured to make some stylistic and grammar corrections in some papers in the hope that authors will forgive these emendations. Since not everybody planned to publish the paper, I arranged the material in only four sections. The most representative is the section on Archives and Materials, which reflects the main topic of the conference “Unknown treasures of the Altaic world in libraries, archives and museums”. Nevertheless, the papers in the other sections of this volume are all based on manuscripts or historical and linguistic sources from various collections as well.

It was my honor and pleasure to host my dear colleagues at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, in Saint Petersburg. I hope that this will stimulate scholars to come again and work there. My special thanks go to Dr. Simone Raschmann and Mr. Gerd Winkelhane for taking the burden of preparing the last proofs of this volume.

Dr Tatiana A. Pang
President of the 53rd Meeting of the PIAC
Saint Petersburg, Russia