Consten’s Universal Dictionary
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
Hermann Consten (1878–1957) was a German mongolist and traveller who gained a certain amount of popularity among the general reader through his travelogue “Weideplätze der Mongolen im Reiche der Chalcha” (Berlin 1919–1920). In two volumes he gives an account of his venturesome itinerary in Mongolia before World War I. Before returning to Germany in 1950 he lived in Peking where he bought a set of some 180 Mongolian maps dating from the Qing era which finally found their way to the shelves of the State Library in Berlin. Described by Walther Heissig in his well-known catalogue (“Mongolische Handschriften, Blockdrucke, Landkarten” Stuttgart 1961), these maps were the first oriental manuscript items which were recently digitalised by the Library, available on the net through free online access (http://ogea.crossasia.org/digital/mongolische-karten/). Literary remains of Hermann Consten not studied so far is a number of slip boxes which are also kept in Berlin. They contain Consten’s notes on a huge variety of subjects such as personal or geographical names as well as information on numerous other terms and concepts. So these slip boxes represent, so to say, his personal encyclopaedia of Mongolia on which he seemingly worked for decades. My presentation is intended to give a general impression of the size and content of Consten’s cyclopaedia.