«Look at the East» shows the history of acquisition of the collection on Buddhism in the Russian museum of Ethnography. This exhibition is related to the centenary of the St. Petersburg Datsan Gunzechoinei inauguration.
The Russian museum of Ethnography posses the unique collection of the objects and photographs on Buddhist peoples of Russia and Central Asia (the Buryats, the Kalmyks, the Tuvans, the Tibetans, and the Mongols). There are more than 2000 items that reflect different sides of Buddhism and its regional features.
This rich and diverse collection closely connected with personalities of collectors, travelers, specialists in Oriental studies, donators and Buddhist monks, along with their academic interests, religious and political views. Curators of the exhibition tried to discover the role of these people in gathering the Buddhist collection in the museum and to find out how did they work in political, cultural and historic conditions of that period.
The exhibition has three main blocks. The first one is consists of private collections on the Buddhist cult objects belonged to the duck Esper E. Ukhtomsky’s, Major General Alexander V. Vereshchagin, famous geographer and traveler Peter K. Kozlov. All these collections were acquired by Emperor Nikolas II and were donated to the Ethnographic Department of the Emperor Alexander III’s Russian Museum. In the second block the objects that were presented to the Emperor Family by eminent monks and representatives of the Buddhist peoples of the Russian Empire (the Buryats, the Kalmyks) are shown. Among Emperor’s gifts there are objects that were presented by the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso. The third part of the exhibition shows the collections that were gathered by officers and correspondents of the Ethnographic Department (D. A. Klementz, F.Ja. Kon, A.A Miller, D.E. Ukhtomsky, S.I. Rudenko and A.P. Barannikov). These objects were collected during expeditions to Tannu Uriankhai (Republic of Tuva), Kalmykia, Zabaykalsky (Transbaikal) krai, Buryat and Mongolia ASSR, Mongolia.
The visitors of the exhibition will be able to see the unique items such as Buddhist sculpture, Buddhist cult objects and monks costumes. The major part of the objects will be presented for the first time. Along with the exhibits visitors will be able to use the materials (portrait gallery, photo collection from the RME photo-archive etc.) from the multimedia application displayed on the exhibition.