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scientific journal

Russian Museum of Ethnography

number 2 (8), 2015

A Century Long Journey: Uncovering the Secret

2 (8)
British Museum, St. Petersburg Russian Ethnographic Museum , World Paris Fair, ethnographic exhibition, model of the Yakut yard, Ysyah, models from a mammoth tusk, Yakut carvers, finding of the authorship


In 2015, the legendary composition “The Yakut Holiday Ysyakh” from the British Museum stores was demonstrated in the National Fine Arts Museum of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The question about its creator, an unknown Yakut craftsman of the 19th century, was asked by many visitors of this exhibition. The key to solving the centurylong mystery was for the authors of the paper the model of “The Yakutian Yard” from the stores of the Russian Ethnographic museum. Examining it closely, one can discern the same specific facial traits as in the characters of this “British composition”. Moreover, the same carving technique is noticeable in both models, the same style of execution, which is well evident in the design of clothing (plastics of forearm lines, soft folds of the puffed sleeves, turn-down collars of the men’s doublets). The fundamental similarity of both compositions also comes to light in the manner of carving of the urasa, the summer birchbark dwelling. Following the attribution of both these works to the same Yakutian bone carver, his name could be identified through the study of archival materials.

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