On October 21 Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, the Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Chairman of the Clerical Administration of Muslims of Russia presented to Prof Efim Rezvan, Deputy Director of the Saint-Petersburg Kunstkamera and the Director of the International Center for Islamic Studies the prize for his contribution to the study and popularization of the Holy Qur’an. The ceremony was held as part of the Qur’anic Festival organized in the Moscow Crocus City Hall and completed the 19th Moscow International Qur’an Reciting Competition. The Dubai International Prize of the Holy Qur’an was the partner of the solemn event this year.

II All-Russian Symposium on Anthropological/ Ethnological European Studies

October 22-23 2018, St. Petersburg, Russia 

Since Europe has always been a multinational and multicultural region there is still a plenty of space for anthropological studies of its complex and ambiguous history of relations between official states, multiple European nations and entire political and economic units as well as between the peoples living there now and in the past. The second half of the 20th century and especially last decade are characterized by waves of migrations that led to the emergence of new groups on the territory of Europe. So called "old" Europeans face the challenge to get along with different groups of migrants and to build new neighborhood relations in both political and everyday life. Within the main conference’s theme it is supposed to treat neighborhoodin both broad and narrow contexts with the focus on communication practices between human communities in contact at different levels. The event aims to provide an overviewon contact areas within the international and historical perspectives. The other spotlight is to discuss the anthropology of everyday life with special attention to communication between neighboring groups and individuals.

In April – May, 2018 with the support of University College of London, Qatar the research trip to Qatar of Efim Rezvan, MAE RAS deputy director, and Anna Kudriavtceva, academic secretary of the International Center for Islamic studies, was realized. In particular in the framework of the visit studies following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the time of the Prophet)” were carried out. 

Within the confines of his scientific program Efim Rezvan took part in three scientific conferences: “Research Data Management in Digital Humanities” (UCL Qatar, 17–18 April); “Traditional Gulf Architecture Conference” (Qatar National Library, 23–25 April 2018); 8th Annual Conference “Contemporary Western Trends in Qur’anic Studies. The Problem of Objectivity and Bias: An Epistemological Perspective” (College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, 2–3 May 2018). He presented a lecture to the students of UCL Qatar and the public lecture “Fates of two ‘‘Uthmanic Qur’ans’ (to the history of MIA Doha Ms 248)” in the Museum of Islamic art. Local collections of early manuscripts of the Qur’an were studied; a Russian-made teapot from a local historical and ethnographic collection was dated and localized.

«Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  < > and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.»

St. Mathew, 2: 1–12


[Isa /Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. < > And peace is on me the day I was born, and the day I will die, and the day I am raised alive.”

Qur’an, 19: 16–34


The opening ceremony of photography exhibition «“All the world's a glance of friend's face, all the rest's a shadow cast!” Dervishes: image and word» was held November 20th 2017. Within the framework of this event, three important research and cultural interconnected projects were also presented: the International Center for Islamic Studies, the Fund for the Development of Scientific and Cultural Projects “Al Makam” and the festival “Dairafest.

Among the Kunstkamera’s valuable ethnographic collections, a special place is occupied by collections built by the Russian scientist and traveler Nikolai Miklukho-Maclay (1846-1888). A biologist by education, Miklukho-Maclay has gradually shifted his scientific interests into the sphere of physical anthropology and ethnography. In 1870 he decided to go to New Guinea to study the indigenous population of the island. Subsequently, the geography of his research has vastly expanded and covered many under-explored corners of Oceania and Southeast Asia. However, it is the study of the Papuans of the north-eastern coast of New Guinea that brought him world fame. View the catalogue

Latin America is a new permanent exposition of the Museum, open for the public in June 2017. Both ancient and modern cultures of Latin America within the context of world peoples’ culture  are shown. Go to the tour

On May 5, 2017 in the framework of representative scientific conference Paleo-Qur’anic Manuscripts: state of the field organized by Center for Religious Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies of Central European University in Budapest Efim Rezvan and Anna Kudriavtceva presented the report “Corpus Coranicum Petropolitana: current results and perspectives of the new Russian Qur’anic project”. A comprehensive research project is implemented by Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, the Leiden Research Institute for Rational Monotheism and “Manuscripta Orientalia”, International Journal for Oriental Manuscripts Research. The project includes the publication of a study on Qur’anic ethnography, organization of field trips to Oman and Saudi Arabia, the creation of the Internet project “Lexical and grammatical structure of the Qur’an, of the documented Arabic-Russian dictionary of the Qur’anic language, provided the references to the body pre-Islamic poetry and epigraphy as well as the creation of the new translation of the Qur’ān into Russian language based on the new scientific principals.

In March 15—31, 2017 in the framework of the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)” being realized by Saint-Petersburg Kunstkamera Museum, Leiden Institute for Rational Monotheism (President – Aslbek Musin) and the journal “Manuscripta Orientalia” the international historical and ethnographic expedition was brought to pass with the support by the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman. Expedition route was as follows: Muscat — Rustaq — Nakhal — Wadi Mistal — Wadi Bani Kharus — Tanuf — Bahla — Jibreen — al-Hamra —Misfat Al Abriyeen — Wadi Ghul — Jabal Shams — Haima — Salalah — Duqm — Sur — Ibra — Muscat. For the first time Russian ethnographers had the opportunity to realize a research project in the territory of Oman, one of the most distinctive historical and cultural areas of Arabia, which preserved rich material for the remodelment of ethno-cultural patterns and reconstructions.

Now you can visit our museum from your home. 3D-tours would guide you around museum premises, as well as you can listen to audio-stories about items from Africa, America, Japan, China and others. You can browse the museum both on PC and tablet.

3D-tour is a part of Kunstkamera of the III Millennium Project supported by Vladimir Potanin Foundation and done in 2015-2016.



On December 12, 2016 the Editorial Board of “Manuscripta Orientalia. International Journal for Oriental MSS Research” received an official letter confirming that the journal has been evaluated for inclusion in SCOPUS by the Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB). The letter says in particular: “This is a well organized journal with an excellent editorial policy, and which publishes articles that are already highly cited in SCOPUS. The journal is international in focus and is associated with leading institutions and scholars. For all of these reasons it merits inclusion in SCOPUS”. 

Dear colleagues and friends!

We are happy to announce the call for papers for the 2nd International conference “Jewish Diasporas in Europe and Beyond: Fieldwork and Source Studies” that is organized by the Department of European Studies at Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS. The conference will be held in our Museum (Saint-Petersburg, Russia) in November, 6-8, 2017.

An international scientific conference “Cultural processes in the Circum-Baltic space in the Early and Middle Holocene” will be held in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on April 26–28, 2017

The conference is dedicated to the memory of Vladimir I. Timofeev, an outstanding Russian researcher of Holocene Stone Age, whose 70th birthday is coming in 2017. The topics to be discussed are connected to the scientific heritage of V.I. Timofeev, namely:

1. Archaeological sites and disappeared Holocene landscapes

2. Absolute chronology data arrays and models of neolitization

3. Social networks during the Mesolithic and Neolithic

4. Elshanian – Strumel – Ertebølle pottery – parts of one cultural area or cultures with different origins?

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography which hosts rich Yemeni collection which is mostly the result of the work of Soviet-Yemeni Complex Expedition (SOYKE), fully supports #Unite4Heritage Campaign.

The recent conflict in Yemen that started in March 2015 has caused serious security and humanitarian crisis in the country. At the same time, the conflict severely affected Yemen’s unique cultural heritage mostly as collateral damage caused by military operations, aerial bombardment in particular. The Old Cities of Sana’ and Saa’da, the Citadel of Taez, the archaeological site of the pre-Islamic walled city of Baraqish, the archaeological site of Sirwah (near Marib) from the 1st millennium B.C., and the Great Dam of Marib, a wonder of technical engineering, were all affected. Dhamar Museum, which used to host 12,500 artefacts, was completely destroyed.

In this regard, UNESCO proposes to organise Yemeni Heritage Week – Museums United for Yemen together with major museums around the world that host Yemen’s important cultural artefacts under #Unite4Heritage Campaign.

On April 26 the MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS will present Museum's participation in this international event. Lecture by Prof Mikhail Rodionov, the Head of the Department of South and Southwest Asia of the Museum and SOYKE participant, entitled «‘Yemeni Cultural Memory: Challenges and Concerns’» will be presented at the special meeting of the Museum Scholarly council and will be broadcasted live via the Periscope.

The symposium Prospects for Ethnological / Anthropological Approach of European Studies in Russia is intended to represent the latest research achievements as well as the methodological fundamentals by the Russian ethnologists and anthropologists who focus their research on Europe. It is also aimed to define the place of ethnological / anthropological knowledge in European Studies within contemporary Russian science and to specify the most promising future focus areas for the Russian experts in European Studies.

The president of Russia Vladimir Putin during personal meeting with ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Head and the spiritual leader of Iran, presented him the copy of one of the most ancient manuscripts of the Qur’an in the world which is stored in the St. Petersburg academic collection. The manuscript was identified, studied and published by Prof Efim Rezvan, the deputy director of the MAE RAS. His monograph on the topic received the Russian national award "Book of the Year" in the nomination "Humanitas" (2005), it won the second international competition of the CIS states "The Art of the Book" in the nomination "Dialogue of Cultures" (2005), gained the honourable diploma of UNESCO as "The best edition making the significant contribution to dialogue of cultures" (2005) as well as the honourable diploma of the Teheran Qur’anic Fair (2005). Efim Rezvan also made a documentary about the project. The Saint-Petersburg scholar took active part in preparation of a diplomatic gift.

To know the history of this manuscript in details, please, read Prof Rezvan’s article following this link.

On October, 21 2015, Birmingham University organized a scientific conference on results of radiocarbon dating of early Qur’anic fragments stored in its library. The manuscript drew wide media and public interest  since the parchment was dated to approximately the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammed. (The dating placed the fragments to 568645 A. D., while the preaching of Mohammed began in 610 A. D. and ended with his death in 632 A. D.)

Museum continues the series of catalogues providing the broad access to its collections. New online catalogue available from today on the Museum website is dedicated to the Ainu - one of the indigenous peoples of the Far East and Japan. MAE collection contains over two thousand items of Ainu origin; some of them are displayed at the permanent exhibition. Collections on Ainu culture are among the early acquisitions; 14 items still remain the labels of Kunstkamera. The uniqueness of these collections is in their wide geographical range as well, since they include materials not only from Hokkaido and Sakhalin Island, but also from Kuril Islands. The history of Ainu items’ collecting is associated with the names of prominent Russian travelers and explorers: I.G. Voznesenskii, B.O. Pilsudskiy, L.Y. Sternberg, and others. They could purchase unique materials on various aspects of the culture of Ainu people: vehicles and clothes, hunting tools and utensils, religious objects. Research of Ainu collections of MAE RAS is being carried out for many years in collaboration with specialists from Japan.

Imaging Evenki & Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia & Siberia

Exhibitions open 23 June – 27 September 2015

June 11, 2015 – Mr. Mikhail M. Kotyukov, Head of the Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations of Russia, and Mr. Sergei V. Kuzmin, Deputy Head of FANO, visited the Museum. The heads of FANO visited the collection storages and exhibitions of MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS ,  held a meeting with the Museum administration on the development of the institution as a national research center. One of the main topics of discussion was the creation of the Museum multifunctional scientific and storage center.

On June 10th, 2015, the US Ambassador to the Russian Federation Mr. John Tefft and officials of the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg visited Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). During the visit the guests got acquainted with the unique collections on the cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America displayed at the Museum, as well as with printed catalogues on museum American collections issued in close cooperation with American museums, research centers and communities of indigenous peoples. The parties expressed their mutual interest to continue the cooperation which helps to maintain and develop the close cultural and scientific relations between our countries. Mr. Tefft informed the Museum administration of providing a special grant for digitization and publication of the Museum collections dedicated to the culture of Californian Indians. The work will be conducted jointly with US experts and representatives of the indigenous peoples of California. Digitization of Californian collection of the Museum will be launched in September 2015.


In view of the forthcoming celebration of the International Museum Day of 18 May, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) Russian Academy of Sciences joins the international campaign #Unite4Heritage, which was recently launched on the initiative the UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova. Campaign #Unite4Heritage is a response not only to the recent trend of deliberate destruction of or attacks on cultural heritage, of which museums have been regrettably a target especially in Arab region/ The aim of the campaign is  to increase awareness of public, notably that of young people worldwide on the importance of heritage as showcase of our diversity and spirit of intercultural exchange and dialogue.

In 1713 the Great Gottorp Globe was given to Peter the Great as a diplomatic gift from the Duchy of Gottorp and later became one of the very first exhibits of the first Russian public museum – Kunstkamera. Delivered to Saint-Petersburg in 1717, the Gottorp Globe was thought to be the biggest globe in the world and first planetarium globe at the time. Today it is presented at the fourth floor of Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) in St. Petersburg (Russia).

On March 17th, 2015, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich visited Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). He met the Museum's administration and saw its permanent exhibitions and Museum’s depots. He discussed a number of important issues related to the complex development of Russia's oldest public museum and scientific institution that celebrated its 300th anniversary in the end of 2014. As a result of this visit it is planned to elaborate a development program for the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera)  that, as Mr. Dvorkovich wrote in the Museum's VIP visitors' book, would be aimed at  turning the Museum into a "modern scientific and cultural center for millions of people from around the globe".

The Aleutians online catalogue for the first time presents entire collection of the Aleutians’ traditional culture housed in the Peter the Great museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS. The project continues series of collection catalogues, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Museum. The first catalogue was published in 2007 on the Tlingit culture, the second, published in 2011 — on the Alutiit culture.

The Aleutians are one of the indigenous peoples of the American North. In the early 19th cent. a group of the Aleutians was resettled to the Commander Islands, since than the Aleutians live both in the USA and Russia.

The Aleutian collections were first handed over to the Kunstkamera after discovery of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska by Vitus Bering - Aleksey Chirikov expedition in 1741. Over 150 years Russian sailors, travelers, scholars, missioners and employees of the Russian-American Company delivered Aleutian collections to the Museum. Owing to them MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS houses the largest and unique in the terms of time of gathering collection of Aleutian traditional culture, which was first published in its entirety in the catalogue.

The work on the catalogue was started by the Museum in 2011. The project was realized in partnership with leading American experts and representatives of Alaska Aleutians with active participation of Russian experts from other research organizations. Thus the Museum work in the field of research and interpretation of the North America peoples’ traditional culture with engagement of local communities and eхperts from Alaska as well as providing a wide access to the museum collections have been continued.

As a result a complete research catalogue of the Peter the Great Museum’s of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS on Aleutian traditional culture "Aleuty: catalog kollekcii Kunstkamery" (The Aleutians: Kunstkamera’s collections catalogue) was published in St.Petersburg in 2014.

The catalogue was worked out in partnership and with support of Press and Culture Department of the Consulate General of the USA in St.Petersburg. The Museum expresses appreciation to the Consulate General of the USA in St.Petersburg for supporting the project at all stages of its realization.

Mikhail Gerasimov: Facial Reconstructions from the Crania online catalog presents a collection of sculptural reconstructions from crania, made by the anthropologist and archaeologist Michael Gerasimov and owned by Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). These are reconstructed heads of primates, fossil hominins, ancient and medieval people, and a few Russian princes. Certain portraits such as those of males from Yuzhny Oleniy (Southern Reindeer) Island on Lake Onega, that of a nomad from Kirghizia, etc., are based on crania from the collections of the Department of Anthropology.

Also, the catalog introduces rare photographs of the 1936 excavations of Mesolithic burials in the Murzak-Koba grotto, Crimea, the 1936-38 excavations at Yuzhny Oleniy Island.

The online catalog continues the exhibition Faces of Our Ancestors, held at our Museum in 2007-08 on the occasion of Gerasimov’s centenary.