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Polosin Val. & Rezvan E. The Asiatic Museum Project: 1. Data-Base on Muslim Seals // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 1, No 2, October 1995. P. 53—55.


The St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences, Russia, is the oldest center for oriental studies in the country. Its history dates back to November 11 (23) , 1818. when the Asiatic Museum was founded within the framework of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences.

The St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies is famous today for its collection of ancient and medieval oriental MSS, the largest in the Russian Federation. It can only be compared to the collections of the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale. The collection includes 30 funds, the total amount of MSS is 85 thousand units. Here one can find texts produced in the Near, Middle and Far East. as well as from Innermost and South Eastern Asia, written in sixty languages and dialects on different sorts of paper, parchment, leather, palm leaf, birch bark, wood, metal, stone - practically on all materials ever used for writing. Some of the funds of the collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies are unique or very rare. Among them there are the collections of Tangut secular and Buddhist MSS, Old-Khwarezmian business documents, the best European collection of the Tibetan MSS and block-printed books, MSS representing the written tradition of the Karaites of the Crimea, a collection of Muslim MSS created in the late Middle Ages in the regions of the Volga river. the Caucasus and Central Asia.

In August 1992, according to the results of an open competition, the Ministry of Science. High School and Technology of the Russian Federation took the decision to start sponsoring the project “Asiatic Museum” presented by the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. The aim of the project is to produce a data-base on the MSS collection of the Institute as a part of the future net of data-bases to be created in the principal museums and research centers of St. Petersburg. For some time the “Asiatic Museum” project was sponsored by the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Researches...

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