Oriental Studies

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Oriental Studies


the science, historically established in Europe, that integrates the study of the history, economics, languages, literatures, ethnology, arts, religions, philosophies, and monuments of the material and spiritual cultures of the Orient [the Near and Far East] as they relate to the countries of Asia and parts of Africa (primarily North Africa).

Within Oriental studies there are regional branches— Egyptology, Assyriology, Semitics, Arabic studies, Iranian studies, Turkology, Sinology, Mongolian studies, Indology, and Japanese studies. New regional branches are appearing all the time in conjunction with scientific progress— for example, Sumerology, Urartology, Qumran studies, Korean studies, and Malayan studies. There is also specialization in the basic branches of Oriental studies—history, economics, literature, and linguistics—and a tendency to differentiate and separate the study of art, philosophy, and religion of Oriental countries from one another. African studies have been separated completely from Oriental studies and are an independent scientific discipline. Nevertheless, Oriental studies continue to develop as an integrated science.

The study of Oriental countries and their histories by people from the East began in ancient times and continued until the Middle Ages. The works of the ancient and medieval Eastern authors, which were mostly historical chronicles and geographical descriptions, are valuable sources for Oriental studies. The historical and cultural study of one’s own country by modern scientific methods, which is on the rise in the socialist and developing countries of the Orient, is a part of the humanities curriculum in these countries; although it is not always included in the concept of Oriental studies in the countries of the East, it does constitute a valuable and significant contribution to the development of Oriental studies.

The sources of European knowledge about the Orient date back to antiquity and the Middle Ages, when trade and political relationships were established between the peoples of Europe and the peoples of Asia and North Africa. Information about the Orient, which was dictated primarily by practical needs and missionary goals, was accumulated gradually. Oriental studies owe a great deal to the ancient Greek authors for the first accounts of the East; they were the first to ap-point themselves Western spokesmen for the East, by which they meant Persia and subsequently all of the territory to the east of the Grecian world. From them was also derived the geographical basis of Oriental studies. Much of the information about the countries of the East is contained in the Syrian, Byzantine, old Armenian, and old Georgian literatures of the Middle Ages, which served as a bridge between the cultures of the East and the West. In the 12th century numerous records began to appear, which were written by European travelers, wandering monks, merchants, and diplomats who had visited the countries of Southwest Asia and the Far East—particularly Veniamin Tudel’skii in the 12th century; Giovanni de Piano Carpini, Guillaume Rubruquis, and Marco Polo in the 13th century; Odoric of Pordenone in the 14th century; and the Russian pilgrims Daniil the Pilgrim and Stefan of Novgorod in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively.

The emergence of Oriental studies as a special branch of knowledge was associated with the period of the primary accumulation of capital and the beginning of European expansion into the countries of the East. Their development was also stimulated by the general broadening of international relations. From the beginning, Oriental studies were of a practical, applied nature. They were characterized by descriptiveness and heterogeneity, and within these limits were formed only gradually their first basic branches—philology and country studies, which were particularly associated with the interest in the East shown by such Renaissance figures as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, J. Reuchlin, and M. Montaigne. In the 15th and 16th centuries works were written primarily about the countries of the Near East and collected in travel and sea-voyage publications in the 16th century, such as those by G. Ramusio in Italy and S. Purchas and R. Hakluyt in England. A valuable description of China by Mendoza was published in 1585. Ancient Hebrew and Arabic language instruction was introduced at the first university departments of Eastern languages that were established in the 16th century at Paris and the 17th century at Oxford. Several general works were written in the late 16th century by the Arab scholar G. Postel and the historians of Western Asia Rott and Brissonus, concluding the initial stage in the development of Oriental studies.

In Russia, a description of India by Afanasii Nikitin appeared in the 15th century; an account of I. Petlin’s journey to China in 1618 and descriptions of the trips made to China by the Russian ambassadors F. I. Baikov and N. G. Spafarii were published in the 17th century.

Development from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The further development of Oriental studies until the modern period passed through three basic stages. The first stage (17th and first half of the 18th centuries) was characterized by the establishment of prerequisites for scholarly Oriental research. The group of Eastern languages studied was enlarged to include Persian, Turkish, and Chinese. More interesting and informative travel accounts were published, such as those of the Italian Pietro della Valle, the Frenchmen J. Tavernier and J. Chardin, the German Adam Olearius, and the Chinese studies by the Russian authors I. K. Rossokhin and A. L. Leont’ev. Relatively complete dictionaries of several Oriental languages and the texts and translations of works by Oriental authors (especially Saadi) were published. By the end of the 17th century a considerable number of Oriental manuscripts had been collected at the universities at Leiden, Paris, and Oxford; this resulted in the publication of the first systematized works based on Oriental sources, particularly The Oriental Library by d’Herbelot (Paris, 1667). In Russia the practical study of Eastern languages was initiated in the early 18th century by decrees of Peter I in 1700 and 1702. Many works on the Orient of that time showed the influence of Orientophilism, which had developed in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries in an attempt to utilize the newly discovered cultural values of the Eastern world in the struggle against feudal reaction and the obscurantism of the clergy. Orientophilism had become intertwined with the ideas of the Enlightenment on the eve of the Great French Revolution (for example, the “Eastern” dramas of Voltaire and The Persian Letters by C. Montesquieu).

The scientific principles of Oriental studies were established in the second stage of their development (second half of the 18th century and first half of the 19th century). Exceptional progress was made in Oriental philology (which had marked the beginning of comparative linguistics) in connection with the discoveries of ancient writing systems and languages: in 1771 the French scholar Anquetil du Perron translated the Avesta from Old Iranian and the English scholars W. Jones and H. Colebrooke began to study Sanskrit in comparison with the European languages. In addition, decipherments were made of Old Persian by the German scholar G. Grotefend in 1802 and in the 1820’s and 1830’s by the Danish scholar R. Rask, the English scholar H. Rawlinson, and the French scholar E. Burnouf; of Assyrian-Babylonian cuneiform by the French scholar E. Botta, the Irish scholar E. Hincks, and the English scholar H. Rawlinson; and of Egyptian hieroglyphics by the French scholar F. Champollion in 1822. A network of different Asiatic societies was established, including the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta (1784), the Asiatic Society in Paris (1822), the Royal Asiatic Society in London (1823), and the German Oriental Society in Leipzig (1845). Special institutes of higher learning were created for the study of Eastern languages—for example, the Academy of Oriental Languages in Vienna (1754) and the School of Living Oriental Languages in Paris (1795). Fundamental research works appeared on the history and culture of the East, primarily of the ancient and medieval periods.

In Russia, G. S. Lebedev compiled one of the first European grammars of Sanskrit (1801) and provided a description of the grammatical structures of several living Indian languages. One of the most eminent Orientalists of the 19th century was N. la. Bichurin (Iakinf). University instruction of Eastern languages, which was proposed by M. V. Lomonosov as early as 1754, was established by the first university charter in 1804. The training of Russian Orientalists was initially concentrated at the University of Kazan (beginning in 1807), and later at the University of St. Petersburg (beginning in 1819). In Russia the Asiatic Museum, the repository for Oriental manuscripts and coins that became the center of academic Eastern studies, was established in 1818.

In the research of the leading Orientalists, the philological method was combined with sweeping theoretical generalizations, primarily from a historical idealist point of view. On the whole there were two tendencies in international Oriental studies: the humanist tendency (most clearly reflected in the ideas of an East-West cultural synthesis, which found their literary expression in J. W. Goethe’s Divan} and the colonialist tendency.

During the third stage in the development of Oriental studies (second half of the 19th century and early 20th century) research objectives were broadened and the aforementioned tendencies became more pronounced. Catalogs of the major European holdings of Oriental manuscripts and books began to appear in the second half of the 19th century. Much attention was given to the work of publishing dictionaries of the Oriental languages, special series of philological publications, and various “libraries.” Beginning in 1873, international congresses of Orientalists were convened periodically every three or four years. Work continued on the systematization of all the data that had been accumulated (such as The Encyclopaedia of Islam, in four languages, and various summary courses and Oriental reference works). The study of Eastern cultures by European Orientalists was directed more and more toward philology, avoiding generalizations in favor of details and factual information. Prominent historians and philologists, who studied the materials by means of modern critical research methods, appeared in Japan, China, India, Iran, Turkey, and other Eastern countries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The most important feature of Russian Oriental studies in the second half of the 19th century was the ideological demarcation within them. The influence of revolutionary-democratic ideas played a decisive role in this. The analyses of many questions about the social development of Oriental countries, as set forth in the works of V. G. Belinskii, N. G. Chernyshevskii, and N. A. Dobroliubov, are methodologically the most scientifically significant in all of pre-Marxist literature. The influence of the Russian revolutionary democrats affected the scholarly work of the Sanskritists P. la. Petrov and I. P. Minaev, the Afghan scholar N. A. Aristov, the groups of political exiles who studied the Paleo-asiatic languages (V. N. Bogoraz-Tan, L. la. Shternberg, and E. K. Pekarskii), and especially the outstanding scholars who emerged from the community of Eastern peoples oppressed by tsarist Russia—the Azerbaijani Mirza Fatal’ Akhundov, the Buriat Dorzhi Banzarov, and the Kazakh Chokan Valikhanov. The reactionary monarchical and colonialist trend was rather weakly represented in Russian Oriental studies. Many representatives of this trend were associated with the Society of Oriental Studies, which was under the patronage of the royal (tsarist) family.

Russian scholars of the East wrote valuable works and opened up new branches of Oriental studies, particularly Turkology and Caucasian studies. Russian scholars investi-gated most of the Turkic, Mongolian, Iranian, Caucasian, Paleoasiatic, and Manchurian languages. The Russian school of Sinologists (P. I. Kafarov, V. P. Vasil’ev, I. I. Zakharov, S. M. Georgievskii, and A. O. Ivanovskii) has achieved world fame since the time of N. la. Bichurin. The authority of Russian Manchurian studies, whose most prominent representatives were A. M. Orlov, I. I. Zakharov, and A. O. Ivanovskii, was universally recognized. The contributions of Russian scholarship in the study of India were significant. The St. Petersburg Dictionaries of Sanskrit Languages were compiled in 1852-57 (the unabridged version) and 1879-89 (abridged).

The leading expert on Sanskrit, the Prakrits, Pali, and modern Indian languages was I. P. Minaev, who founded the school of Russian indologists. I. N. Berezin, A. K. Kazembek, V. V. Radlov, P. M. Melioranskii, N. F. Katanov, and E. K. Pekarskii worked in the field of Turkology, writing fundamental works on the languages, folklore, and literature of the Turkic-speaking peoples. In 1889 the Orkhon Inscriptions, monuments bearing an old Turkish writing system, were discovered by N. M. Iadrintsev on the bank of the Orkhon River in Mongolia; these monuments are major sources for the study of the history of the nomadic empires of the ancient past. The academician Radlov produced the first complete translation and scholarly commentaries of the Enisei and Orkhon inscriptions. Valuable research on the history, literature, folklore, and language of the Mongols was done by la. I. Shmidt, O. M. Kovalevskii, A. A. Bobrovnikov, A. V. Popov, A. D. Rudnev, and A. M. Pozdneev. Basic research on Iranian languages and dialects, folklore, and literature was done by A. V. Boldyrev, K. A. Kossovich, V. A. Zhukovskii, K. G. Zaleman, and F. E. Korsh. Zaleman laid the foundations for the study of the Pamir languages. Significant contributions were made by V. A. Dorn in Afghan studies, A. Khodz’ko in his studies of the Kurdish language, and A. M. Shegren and especially V. F. Miller in their studies of the Ossetic language. O. I. Senkovskii, Boldyrev, G. S. Sablukov, Kh. D. Fren, D. A. Khvol’son, V. F. Girgas, and V. R. Rozen were prominent Russian Arab scholars. An important role in the development of Caucasian studies during the latter half of the 19th century was played by P. K. Uslar, A. A. Tsagareli, K. P. Patkanov, L. Z. Mser’iants, and L. G. Lopatinskii. Prerevolutionary scholars discovered and made available for scholarly use a large number of diverse documents, sources, and literary monuments of the material and spiritual cultures of Middle Asia, Siberia, Mongolia, and China (the works of P. P. Semenov-Tian-Shanskii, G. N. Potanin, G. E. Grumm-Grzhimailo, N. M. Przheval’skii, and P. K. Kozlov). An extremely valuable collection of Chinese, Tibetan, and Tangut written records was found during Kozlov’s investigation of the Karakhoto ruins in the southern part of Mongolia, and the results of the Russian archaeological expeditions to Transcaucasia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were also of scientific value. The wealth of Buddhist, Christian, and Manichaean literary monuments discovered in East Turkestan (K’uch’a and T’ulufana) are very important and have been the object of many historical and linguistic studies. Numerous works on the history and geography of Middle Asia were written by V. V. Vel’iaminov-Zernov, N. V. Khanykov, V. V. Grigor’ev, N. I. Veselovskii, V. V. Bartol’d, and other Russian scholars. The Russian school of ancient Eastern history was established by B. A. Turaev, an outstanding Egyptologist and the author of The History of the Ancient East. Many contributions were made to the development of Oriental studies in Russia by the Russian Geographic Society (St. Petersburg), the Amateur Society of Natural History, Anthropology, and Ethnology (Moscow), and the Russian Committee for the Study of Middle and Eastern Asia. The Eastern division of the Russian Archaeological Society conducted archaeological investigations and extensive research on the Orient. Training of Orientalists was done at the universities of Kazan, St. Petersburg, and Moscow, the Lazarev Institute of Eastern Languages in Moscow (beginning in 1872), the Rishel’evskii Lyceum in Odessa, the Vladivostok Eastern Institute, and several other educational establishments. The major Oriental studies publications are Aziatskii vestnik (The Asiatic Journal; St. Petersburg, 1825-27), the series Mélanges asiatiques (1852-92), Zapiski Vostochnogo otdeleniia Russkogo arkheologicheskogo ob-va (Transactions of the Eastern Branch of the Russian Archaeological Society; St. Petersburg, 1887-1921), Izvestiia Russkogo geograficheskogo ob-va (Reports of the Russian Geographic Society; St. Petersburg-Moscow, 1865), the journals Khristianskii vostok (The Christian Orient; Paris, 1912-20), and Mir islama (The World of Islam; St. Petersburg, 1912-13), the numerous proceedings of various scientific expeditions, the Uchenye zapiski Kazanskogo universiteta (Scholarly Transactions of Kazan University; Kazan, 1834), and Trudy po vostokovedeniiu Lazarevskogo vostochnogo in-ta (Works on Oriental Studies of the Lazarev Oriental Institute; Moscow, 1899-1916).

Oriental studies were first given a coherent scientific methodological basis in the mid-19th century, when K. Marx and F. Engels were developing their materialist concept of history. Marx and Engels also studied the nature of the capitalist states’ colonialist policies. The methodological basis for Oriental studies research was broadened by V. I. Lenin’s development of Marxism, by the Leninist analysis of the imperialist stage in the development of capitalism, and by his profound analytical characterization of the colonialist policies in the period of imperialism and of the national liberation struggle of the peoples of the Orient in its role as an integral part of the world revolutionary process. Important characteristics of the conditions in Oriental countries (for example, India and China) are contained in the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

Present time. The new era of universal history, which was ushered in by the Great October Socialist Revolution and was marked by crisis in the colonialist system of imperialism, gave rise to the formation of a new stage in the development of Oriental studies. The successful development of Marxist Oriental studies was extremely important for this period. The Marxist trend became predominant in the USSR and in the Oriental sciences of foreign socialist countries. Its development was also aided by the work of Marxist scholars in capitalist countries. The research conducted by scholars within the Oriental countries themselves (particularly after World War II) became increasingly important for the development of Oriental studies. The position of the progressive trend was reinforced in Oriental studies abroad. Simultaneously, during the aggravated ideological struggle between the powers of imperialist reaction and the forces of progress, several Western Orientalists broke away from the scientific research method and began to interpret the history and the present situation of Oriental countries from a colonialist point of view.

Soviet Oriental studies, like Marxist-Leninist Eastern studies as a whole, critically assimilated the progressive traditions of the field; it differs radically from bourgeois Oriental studies in that its methodology is dialectical materialism and it has an internationalist approach to the subject. In 1921, upon Lenin’s instructions, higher institutes of Oriental studies were established and the All-Russian Scholarly Association of Oriental Studies (VNAV) was founded; M. P. Pavlovich played an important role in the creation of the VNAV. The organization and its publication, the journal Novyi Vostok (The New Orient), occupied a prominent position in the history of Soviet Oriental studies. Later, the Scientific Research Association for the Study of Colonial and National Problems, which published monographs, collections, and the journal Revoliutsionnyi Vostok (The Revolutionary Orient), was established in affiliation with the Communist University of the Workers of the Orient. Prominent Russian Orientalists participated in the work of the newly emerging centers of Soviet Oriental studies. Extremely valuable works were produced during the Soviet period by such academicians of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR as V. V. Bartol’d, N. la. Marr, S. F. Ol’denburg, F. I. Shcherbatskoi, B. la. Vladimirtsov, I. lu. Krachkovskii, and P. K. Kokovtsov. The works written by Academician V. V. Struve of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN SSSR) presented the study of ancient Oriental history in a new way. The Institute of Oriental Studies of the AN SSSR was established in 1930 as a result of the re-organization of the Asiatic Museum and other Oriental studies institutions.

The training of Orientalists was organized at special educational establishments (such as the A. S. Enukidze Leningrad Institute of Living Oriental Languages and the N. N. Narimanov Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies). There appeared scientific publications that interpreted the history, economics, and literature of modern Oriental countries from a Marxist point of view, collective works on the agrarian question (publications of the International Agrarian Institute) and the labor movement in Oriental countries, and works dealing with the crisis of the colonial system. Textbooks on the principal modern languages of the Orient were prepared for university use. The summary work The Modern History of the Colonial and Dependent Countries (edited by S. N. Rostovskii, I. M. Reisner, G. S. Kara-Murza, and B. K. Rubtsov) was published in 1940 in connection with the introduction of a university course on the history of the countries of the Orient.

One feature of Soviet Oriental studies is the fact that they include the work of scholars of the Eastern nationalities living in the Soviet Union who have been leading figures in whole branches of learning—for example, S. Aini (Iranian literature), president of the Academy of Sciences of the Tadzhik SSR and honored academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR, and M. Auezov (Turkish literature), academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR. New centers for the study of questions of the Orient (the Pacific Institute of the AN SSSR, the institutes of history, literature, and language of the republic academies of sciences, the Oriental studies scientific research institutes of the academies of sciences of the Uzbek, Azerbaijan, Georgian, and Tadzhik SSR’s, and the departments of Oriental studies in other republic academies) arose in the system of the AN SSSR and the academies of sciences of the Union republics. Excellent collections of Oriental manuscripts were assembled in Leningrad, Tashkent, Dushanbe, Baku, Yerevan (Matenadaran), Tbilisi, and Kazan. In the 1940’s, Oriental divisions were established within the history and philology departments of Moscow University (the Institute of Oriental Languages became a part of the university in 1956), and departments of Oriental studies were established at Leningrad University, the University of Middle Asia in Tashkent, the University of Azerbaijan in Baku, and the University of Tbilisi. In 1950 the Institute of Oriental studies of the AN SSSR was reorganized and transferred from Leningrad to Moscow. The specialized Publishing House of Oriental Literature was established in 1957. (In 1964 it be-came the Chief Editorial Office of Oriental Literature for the Nauka Publishing House.) Journals of Oriental studies were started: Sovetskoe vostokovedenie (Soviet Oriental Studies, 1955; called Problemy vostokovedeniia between 1959 and 1961; changed to Narody Azii i Afriki in 1961) and Sovremennyi Vostok (The Modern Orient, 1957; changed to Aziia i Afrika cegodnia in 1961). In 1957, Tashkent was the site of the First All-Union Conference of Orientalists, which demonstrated the growth of Oriental research within the republics and the increased coordination of Oriental studies and research by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the AN SSSR, which is the scholarly center of Soviet Oriental studies. Interest in topics concerning the East increased considerably at the humanities institutes of the AN SSSR, particularly the institutes of history, ethnology, philosophy, world literature, economics, and international relations.

Soviet Oriental studies are typified by the integrated study of the foreign East in all its political, economic, historical, and linguistic aspects. Great contributions to science were made by the older generation of Soviet Orientalists (in addition to those mentioned earlier, the academicians of the AN SSSR I. A. Orbeli, V. M. Alekseev, V. A. Gordlevskii, A. P. Barannikov, S. A. Kozin, I. I. Meshchaninov, A. N. Samoilovich, and N. I. Konrad; the corresponding members of the AN SSSR A. A. Freiman, E. E. Bertel’s, N. K. Dmitriev, M. S. Andreev, and N. V. Pigulevskaia; and Academician A. E. Krymskii of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR), who had trained skilled specialists of the East. Valuable works on Oriental studies were also produced by the Academicians of the AN SSSR B. G. Gafurov, A. A. Guber, E. M. Zhukov, I. M. Maiskii, A. P. Okladnikov, and G. V. Tsereteli and the Corresponding Members of the AN SSSR M. N. Bogoliubov, A. K. Borovkov, A. N. Kononov, S. L. Tikhvinskii, and N. T. Fedorenko. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, chapters dealing with the East in the multivolume Universal History were prepared in Oriental studies departments and many other publications appeared, including university textbooks, studies on problems related to the crisis and decay of the colonial system and the economic development of the independent countries of the East, and basic surveys of the modern histories of India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Arab countries. In the study of the economic and social development of Eastern countries, much attention is given to the problem of development in countries that have a socialist orientation. Soviet Oriental studies were the first to outline a scientific history of the East that examined all events in the light of Marxist teachings on socioeconomic formations, the analysis of class relations, and the struggle of oppressed peoples for their own social and national liberation. Valuable works on the history of Oriental countries were compiled by I. M. Reisner, B. N. Zakhoder, E. A. Beliaev, V. B. Lutskii, A. L. Gal’perin, A. M. Osipov, A. A. Semenov, N. V. Kiuner, lu. V. Gankovskii, L. I. Duman, A. M. D’iakov, I. M. D’iakonov, G. V. Efimov, I. la. Zlatkin, M. A. Korostovtsev, A. F. Miller, lu. la. Perepelkin, I. P. Petrushevskii, and Kh. T. Eidus. Economics and the agrarian question, international policies toward the East, the labor and communist movements, and social and economic forecasting (M. P. Pavlovich, Academician F. A. Rotshtein of the AN SSSR, P. A. Mif, V. A. Gurko-Kriazhin, V. A. Maslennikov, G. L. Bondarevskii, B. M. Dantsig, la. A. Pevzner, K. M. Popov, and R. A. Ul’ianovskii) were established as specialized disciplines in modern Oriental studies. The history of Oriental literature became specialized, the series Literature of the Orient was initiated (17 issues on separate literatures were published between 1962 and 1969), chapters on the East in the history of world literature were written, monographs were published on theoretical questions of aesthetics and the literatures of the East, and university text-books were published, including basic studies of individual literatures (A. N. Boldyrev, Corresponding Member I. S. Braginskii of the Academy of Sciences of the Tadzhik SSR, A. E. Gluskina, D. S. Komissarov, L. D. Pozdneeva, V. I. Semanov, E. P. Chelyshev, and L. Z. Eidlin). The series Literary Monuments of the Peoples of the Orient (texts and translations) is also published.

Soviet Oriental studies continue to devote a great deal of attention to the study of the cultural history of the Soviet East. The Khorezm archaeological expedition, which lasted for many years and was led by Corresponding Member S. P. Tolstov of the AN SSSR, demonstrated the existence of a highly original culture and governmental system in the terri-tory of Middle Asia long before the first millennium A.D. Substantial contributions to Oriental studies were made by archaeological expeditions in Tadzhikstan (the Sogdian-Tadzhik expedition, begun in 1945 under the direction of Corresponding Member A. Iu. lakubovskii of the AN SSSR, and the expedition led by M. M. D’iakonov in 1953-54), Turkmenia (the South Turkmenistan Multipurpose Archaeological Expedition [IuTAKE] led by Academician M. E. Masson of the Academy of Sciences of the Turkmen SSR), Armenia (by Academician B. B. Piotrovskii of the AN SSSR), and Georgia. Foreign expeditions were also important (for example, in the Mongolian People’s Republic by Corresponding Member S. V. Kiselev of the AN SSSR and in the Arab Republic of Egypt by B. B. Piotrovskii).

The peoples of the Soviet East provided skilled scientific workers who did studies of the history and of the material and spiritual culture of their own people, resulting in the publication of research monographs and historical summaries on the Azerbaijan, Armenian, Georgian, Kazakh, Tadzhik, and Uzbek peoples (works by Academician A. Ali-zade of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, Academician la. A. Manandian of the AN SSSR, Academician S. T. Eremian of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, Corresponding Member L. Khachikian of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, Academicians I. A. Dzhavakhishvili and S. N. Dzhanashia of the AN SSSR, Academician G. A. Melikishvili of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR, Academician la. G. Guliamov of the Academy of Sciences of the “Uzbek SSR, and S. A. Azimdzhanova). Significant work was done in the study of the ethnology of Oriental peoples (for example, at the Institute of Ethnology of the AN SSSR). The languages and the creative work of outstanding scholars and writers of the past are thoroughly analyzed in the works of the Academician G. M. Arasla of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, Academician M. Kh. Abegian of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, Corresponding Member G. S. Akhvlediani of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Academician A. G. Baramidze of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR, Academician M. Auezov of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, President S. Aini of the Academy of Sciences of the Tadzhik SSR, Academician A. Mirzoev of the Academy of Sciences of the Tadzhik SSR, Academician B. A. Karryev of the Academy of Sciences of the Turkmen SSR, and Corresponding Member I. Sultanov of the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR.

Soviet Oriental studies have made considerable progress in the area of ancient literary monuments. The studies of the Sabaean, Sogdian, Chaldean-Urartian, Old Turkish, and Tangut writing systems and the epigraphy and records of Eastern peoples are of exceptional scientific value (the re-search of Corresponding Members of the AN SSSR S. E. Malov, N. A. Nevskii, lu. N. Rerikh, A. K. Arends, N. M. Vinnikov, V. I. Kal’ianov, V. A. Krachkovskaia, V. A. Livshits, and B. I. Pankratov). During the Soviet period numerous dialects were studied for the first time and scholarly grammars, dictionaries, and other works were compiled for the Turkic, Caucasian, Mongolian, Iranian, and Semitic languages (works by V. A. Abaev, M. G. Aslanov, N. A. Baskakov, B. M. Grande, A. A. Dragunov, V. S. Kolokolov, I. M. Oshanin, B. K. Pashkov, G. D. Sanzheev, B. V. Choban-zade, K. I. ludakhin, and N. V. lushmanov). More than 80 issues have been published in the series Languages of the Foreign East and Africa (edited by G. P. Serdiuchenko).


The present development of Oriental Studies abroad is characterized by a sharp increase in the number of specialized scientific research institutes engaged in the study of the East, including the educational establishments that train Oriental specialists (especially in the Eastern countries and the USA and, in the postwar years, West Germany). The number of scholarly Oriental studies periodicals has increased, as has the number of scholars in the field. The tendency of the ruling circles in the USA and other capitalist countries to place Oriental studies at the service of their own imperialist interests has played an important role in the development of the Oriental institutes in these countries. At the same time, the development of Oriental studies has also been stimulated by the general advancement of science.

The historical changes that took place in the Eastern coun-tries after World War II have continued to exert an increasing influence on the development of Oriental research abroad. The decay of the colonial system of imperialism and the awakening of dozens of previously oppressed peoples to a new life have contributed to the development of the humanities in the Eastern countries, defined the areas of research to be emphasized in Oriental studies, and prompted increasing attention to the study of contemporary problems.

The archaeological investigations that have been intensively carried out in practically all of the countries of the Orient have played an exceptionally important role in the development of Oriental studies. Archaeological explorations have not only revealed to the world forgotten ancient civilizations, such as the Harappa civilization in the Indus River basin (R. Sahni, N. Banerji, M. Vats, and A. Ghosh in India and J. Marshall, E. Mackay, and M. Wheeler in Great Britain), but they have also made it possible for the first time to begin constructing a relatively complete scientific picture of the development of human society. In view of this, the systematic study of the remains of the primitive communal societies and the ancient preclass farming cultures is of special interest; such studies have been conducted in the Near and Middle East by L. Woolley and A. Stein (Great Britain), E. Herzfeld (USA), and R. Ghirshman and G. Contenau (France), and in South Asia by A. H. Dani and F. A. Khan (Pakistan), V. D. Krishnaswami and B. B. Lai (India), and W. A. Fairservis (USA).

Archaeological investigations have also shed new light on the ancient and medieval history of Oriental peoples (excavations in Afghanistan by A. Foucher of France and in Iran by D. Schlumberger of France).

A large body of exceptionally valuable source materials was made available to science by the decipherment of several forgotten writing systems and the successful study and interpretation of a number of ancient Eastern languages: Sumerian (the German scholars A. Deimel, A. Poebel, and A. Falkenstein, and S. N. Kramer of the USA), Hittite (B. Hrozný of Czechoslovakia), Human (E. A. Speiser of the USA), Ugaritic (P. Fronzaroli of Italy), Hattian, or Proto-Hittite (E. Laroche of France and the German scholars E. Forrer and A. Kammenhuber), Elamite (R. Labat of France, W. Hinz of West Germany, and R. T. Hallock of the USA), and Tocharian (W. Krause of West Germany and H. Pedersen of Denmark). Collected critical editions were published on the Achaemenid (G. Cameron and R. Kent of the USA), Pahlavi (A. Christensen and K. Barr of Denmark), Sogdian (E. Benveniste of France), Khotanese (H. Bailey of Great Britain), Qumran (J. Allegro and R. M. Burrows of Great Britain, and J. Milik of Poland and later of France), and Tocharian texts (the German scholars E. Sieg, W. Siegling, and W. Schulze, and S. Lévi of France). A tremendous amount of work in collecting, studying, and publishing literary, scientific, and cultural records was done by scholars from the Oriental countries (M. Bakir and P. H. Rashdi of Pakistan; M. Bahar, M. Minovi, S. Naficy, and P. Khanlari of Iran; and S. Munaggid of Lebanon). Valuable records of medieval historiography were edited and published by scholars in the Mongolian People’s Republic and the Korean People’s Democratic Republic; collections of documents on modern and recent history of China were published during the 1950’s by historians from the People’s Republic of China.

The development of research and source materials has been accompanied by the publication of collected works on the history, literature, culture, philosophical thought, and religious teachings of individual countries and peoples of the Orient in antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. There are also collected works on the political and economic history of the Orient, in which vast amounts of factual material are correlated on the following: the countries of the Near and Middle East (G. Von Grunebaum of Austria and later the USA; H. Corbin, G. Lazare, L. Massignon, and H. Masse of France; M. Molé of Poland and later France; J. Rypka of Czechoslovakia; and C. Ritter of Czechoslovakia, until World War II the Netherlands, and then Turkey and other countries); South and Southeast Asia (the German scholar M. Winternitz; A. A. Kohzad of Afghanistan; J. H. Qureshi of Pakistan; W. Ruben of East Germany; J. Sarkar and J. Habib of India; and H. Franke of West Germany); and the Far East (L. Goodrich of the USA; K. Enoki of Japan; T. Carter and O. Lattimore of the USA and since 1963 Great Britain; and A. Rosthorn of Austria). General works have been published on Korean history by scholars of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic and on Mongolian history by B. Shirendyb, C. Damdinsuren, and other scholars of the Mongolian People’s Republic.

Valuable research on specific periods in the history of Vietnam has been done by Van Tao, Tran Huy Lieu, Dao Duy Anh, and other historians in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. There are a number of works on Chinese history by Fan Wen-Ian, Chien Po-tsan, and Lo Erh-kang. The progressive Japanese historians S. Hattori and G. Hani studied problems related to the history of Japan.

The development of Oriental research in history and the history of culture has helped progressive-minded foreign Orientalists to overcome the erroneous European-centered ideas and unscientific conceptions associated with the allegedly civilizing mission of the colonial powers in the Orient and has favored the acceptance and development of productive ideas on the oneness of the universal historical process, an integral part of which is the history of the Oriental peoples. The attempts of certain Orientalists to treat history, particularly the cultural history of the Oriental peoples, from a reactionary colonialist point of view and to portray the policies of the colonizers as favorable to the development of the colonies, have been met with well-founded scientific criticism in the works of Marxist and other progressive-minded Orientalists.

In the prewar and postwar decades there was increasing attention paid to the study of the living languages of the modern Orient, including the unwritten languages that, for various reasons, had been studied very little (among others, the works of G. Morgenstierne of Norway on the Iranian, Dardic, and Indo-Aryan languages; M. B. Emeneau of the USA on the Dravidian languages; and D. L. R. Lorimer of Norway on the Burushaski language). Contrastive and structural linguistic methods are increasingly receiving recognition on the same level as comparative-historical methods in Oriental linguistics. A large number of works have been written on dialectology, linguistic geography, and the classification, origin, and development of these languages. In recent years, problems of the formation and functioning of national languages, including questions of the language policies in Oriental countries, have been attracting more and more research attention.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Oriental studies witnessed a steady growth of interest in the problems of the economic and social development of Eastern countries; there was a sharp increase in the number of sociological projects, and research was begun in connection with the construction of economic growth models and the forecasting of social and political processes. Economic and social sciences are receiving new stimuli to development in the Oriental countries themselves; these stimuli are determined by the urgent need to overcome the consequences of the colonial yoke.

The concern of Oriental studies with modern problems has been demonstrated by recent international congresses of Orientalists, especially the 25th (1960, Moscow), the 27th (1967, Ann Arbor, USA), and the 28th (1971, Canberra, Australia). The increasing attention paid to the study of modern problems is linked to the struggle to determine the paths of progress of the developing countries of the Orient.

In the early 1970’s more than 1,100 scientific research centers and associations abroad (including the Oriental departments of universities and other institutions of higher learning) conducted research in Oriental studies and trained professional Orientalists. The number of Oriental studies institutions has increased almost seven times since 1917. Some major foreign Oriental studies centers are the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and the Royal Central Asian Society (Great Britain); the Institute of Oriental Studies of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (East Germany); the Institute of the History of Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam); the Danish Oriental Society and the Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies (Denmark); the All-India Oriental Conference and the Asiatic Society of Bengal (India); the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Italian Institute of the Middle and Far East (Italy); the Institute of History (Korean People’s Democratic Republic); the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Mongolian People’s Republic; the Institute of the Near East (the Netherlands); the Polish Society of Orientalists; the American Asiatic Association, the American Oriental Society, and the International Association of Iranian Art and Archaeology (USA); the Turkish Historical Society; the Society of Orientalists of Finland; the Asiatic Society and the French School of the Far East (France); the German Oriental Society (West Germany); the Institute of Oriental Studies (Czechoslovakia); and the Oriental Institute (Yugoslavia).

The major foreign Oriental studies periodicals are Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London, 1834—), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London (London, 1917—), Journal of the American Oriental Society (New Haven, 1843—), Journal Asiatique (Paris, 1822—), Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (Leipzig, 1847—), East and West (Rome, 1951—), Asian Review and Art and Letters (London, 1964—), Eastern World (London, 1947—), International Journal of American Linguistics (Baltimore, 1917—), Archiv Orientalni (Prague, 1929—), Przeglad Orientalistyczny (Warsaw, 1948—), Islamic Review (Woking, 1913—), Ancient India (Delhi, 1946—), and Tamil Culture (Madras, 1952—).



Bartol’d, V. Istoriia izucheniia Vostoka v Evrope i Rossii, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1925.
Ocherki po istorii russkogo vostokovedeniia, collections 1-6. Moscow, 1953-63.
Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR, vols. 1-4. Moscow, 1955-66.
Materialy Pervoi Vsesoiuznoi nauchnoi konferentsii vostokovedov v g. Tashkente. Tashkent, 1958.
Struve, V. V. “Sovetskoe vostokovedenie za 40 let.” Uch. zap. In-ta vostokovedeniia AN SSSR, 1960, vol. 25.
Gafurov, B. G. “Mezhdunarodnyi forum orientalistov (K itogam XXV Mezhdunarodnogo kongressa vostokovedov).” Voprosy istorii, 1960, no. 11.
“Posle XXV Mezhdunarodnogo kongressa vostokovedov.” Problemy vostokovedeniia, 1960, no. 6.
Gankovskii, Iu. V. “XXVI Mezhdunarodnyi kongress vostokovedov.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 4.
Postovskaia, N. M. Izuchenie drevnei istorii Blizhnego Vostoka v Sovetskom Soiuze (1917-1959 gg.). Moscow, 1961.
Dantsig, B. M. Izuchenie Blizhnego Vostoka v Rossii. Moscow, 1968.
Friedrich, J. Deshifrovka zabytykh pis’mennostei i iazykov. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from German.)
Krachkovskii, I. iu. Ocherki po istorii russkoi arabistiki: Izbr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Sharbatov, G. Sh. Arabistika v SSSR (1917-1959). Filologiia. Moscow, 1959.
Velikii Oktiabr’ i razvitie sovetskogo kitaevedeniia. Moscow, 1968. [Collection of articles.]
Kononov, A. N. Tiurkskaia filologiia v SSSR. 1917-1967. Moscow, 1968.
Smirnov, N. A. Ocherki istorii izucheniia islama v SSSR. Moscow, 1954.
Kuznetsova, N. A., and L. M. Kulagina. Iz istorii sovetskogo vostokovedeniia, 1917-1967. Moscow, 1970.
Fifty Years of Soviet Oriental Studies: Brief Reviews (1917-1967) [issues 1-26]. Moscow, 1967.
Dugat, G. Histoire des orientalistes de I’Europe du XII au XIX siècle, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1868-70.
Historians of South East Asia. Edited by D. G. E. Hall. Oxford, 1961.
Historians of China and Japan. Edited by W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleyblank. Oxford, 1961.
Historians of the Middle East. Edited by B. Lewis and P. M. Holt. Oxford, 1962.
Franke, H. Sinologie. Bern, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One of the key items of the signed contract provides for the renaming of the Oriental Library at the University of Oxford to the Bodleian Nizami Ganjavi Oriental Studies Library.Richard Ovenden, Director of the Bodleian Library, member of the American Philosophical Society, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London welcomed this proposal during his meeting with Professor Nargiz Pashayeva on April 23, 2018.
Syed Mazhar Ali in his presentation at the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies said since inception of WTO regime the global economic scenario has changed.
Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Moscow, June 20 (BNA) -- Bahrain's delegation currently visiting Moscow led by Chairman of Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committee, MP Abdul-Rahman Bu Majeed, met with Head of Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Vitaly Naumkin to listen to a detailed explanation on the Institute's role and activities.
This unique collection displayed memorable Haj photos dating back to 1908, taken by Mohammad Al Hussayni and found in the archives of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Paris.
The Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies has issued the invitation to the Palestinian factions to held a new round of talks in Moscow.
For his part, Chikovani stressed the importance of activating cooperation with Aleppo University through singing a twinning and cooperation agreement, inviting Aleppo University to benefit from Tbilisi University's experience with regards to the field of the oriental studies.
Some 250 scholars and other delegates from 20 countries are attending the three-day conference from Wednesday organized by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and Oxford University's Faculty of Oriental Studies along with the University of Melbourne and the National University of Singapore.
Originally planned as a resource for teaching and research for Durham University's School of Oriental Studies, the museum is now one of the North East's most important cultural treasures, attracting thousands of visitors every year from across the region and beyond.
Brockopp (religious studies and history, Pennsylvania State U.) and Eich (Oriental studies, Tubingen U., Germany) offer an interdisciplinary examination of medical ethics in Muslim societies and caring for Muslim patients in non-Muslim societies.
Olga Akimoshkin, Russian expert of Oriental Studies Institute in Saint Petersburg affiliated to Russian Academy of Sciences said that Iran has gained remarkable achievements in various fields including culture, industry and economy.
He retired in 1990 and in 2001 was appointed OBE for "the promotion of Oriental studies".