Oldenburg, Sergei

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ol’denburg, Sergei Fedorovich


Born Sept. 14 (26), 1863, in the village of Biankino, present-day Nerchinsk Raion, Chita Oblast; died Feb. 28, 1934, in Leningrad. Soviet Orientalist. One of the founders of the Russian school of In-dology. Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1900) and, later, of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN SSSR).

Ol’denburg graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1885. He became an instructor there in 1889, and in 1894 he was appointed a professor. He served as permanent secretary of the Academy of Sciences from 1904 to 1929. In 1917, Ol’denburg became minister of education in the Provisional Government. From 1930 to 1934 he was director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the AN SSSR.

Ol’denburg wrote on the cultural and religious history of ancient and medieval India, the history of Buddhist art and literature, and the history of Oriental studies. He was the author of numerous works on the folklore and art of the East, as well as Russia and Western Europe (for example, his doctoral dissertation, Buddhist Legends, part 1, 1894). Some of his works deal with ethnology.

In 1909–10 and 1914–15, Ol’denburg headed archaeological expeditions to eastern Turkestan, where he deciphered and interpreted a collection of ancient Indian manuscripts. He organized a series of Russian scientific expeditions to Central Asia and Tibet. Ol’denburg supervised the publication of the international series Bibliotheca buddhica (from 1897).


Akademik S. F. Ol’denburg: Kpiatidesiatiletiiu nauchno-obshchestvennoi deiatel’nosti. Leningrad, 1934.
Zapiski In-ta vostokovedeniia AN SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. (Dedicated to S. F. Ol’denburg.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.