The fund numbers about 16000 keeping items. It includes drawings, watercolors, engravings, estampages, examples of paper slotted ornaments, patterns and drawings of traditional costume and paintings.
Content of Fund
The illustration fund is vast collection (about 16000 keeping items) of visual sources on ethnography of the peoples of Eurasia including genre scenes of life of various peoples, sketches and drawings of houses, cult objects, utensils and costumes, examples of traditional decorative-applied arts.
The drawing techniques and materials of exhibits are relatively diverse; however, the pencil drawings, ink painting and watercolor prevail. The drawings made by artists particularly for the museum collection during ethnographic expeditions have especial scientific value.
History of Collection
The illustration fund of the museum started to form simultaneously with material one in the early XX century. In that time so important collections as the watercolors of the Georgian fresco painting by A. P. Eisner, the watercolors of B. A. Plotnikov made in trip the Governorate of Archangelsk and conserved for us unrepeatable specifics of the northern Old Believers’ cemeteries were purchased.
In 1920—1930s the illustration fund was intensively replenished by the acquisitions of the Upper Volga Expedition (1921—1925), the Karelian Expedition(1926—1928) and the North Caucasian expedition (1923—1927) organized by museum together with the Institute of history of material culture and the Commission on Study of Tribal Composition of Russia and Neighboring Countries. The works of A. L. Kolobaev, the participant of the Upper Volga and Karelian expeditions should be particularly mentioned. Apart of detailed and numerous ethnographic drawings the artist created two albums of funny sketches dedicated to the everyday life of expedition.
The valuable addition to the Finno-Ugric fund became the collection of watercolors and drawings of the architect R. M. Gabe received from its author in 1926.
In 1931 the State Institute of History of Arts handed to the museum vast collection of drawings and watercolors made during the expedition to the Russian North under leadership of K. K. Pomanov. One can see on them ornaments of printing desks, painting decoration of distaffs, beaters, ovens, embroidery motifs and even full-sized drawings of izba ornamental painting.
In the post-war years the quantity of illustrated materials significantly increased due to the exhibits of the State Museum of the Peoples of the USSR. The collection of disbanded museum having arrived from Moscow in 1948 г comprises about one third of the total number of exhibits of the Illustration fund. The Moscow collection is somewhat “older”, it started to be formed in 1860s that helped to broaden significantly chronological frames of works presented in the museum. For instance the watercolor album of V.N. Plotnikov devoted to the daily life of Kazakhs dutifully occupies its place among the oldest sources of ethnography of this people. по.
Significant part of illustration heritage of the Museum of Peoples consists of drawings made by museum fellows and artists during expeditions of 1920-1930. V.V. Vatagin more renowned as an outstanding animal painter and I.S.Efimov cooperated with the museum the most fruitfully. The museum full-time fellow V.V. Vatagin participated in expeditions to the Amur River, South Caucasus and Central Asia having created a gallery of laconic, expressive portraits and genre scenes. The details of Udmurt lineage rites are depicted in depth by the hand of I. S. Efimov. .
Today the illustration fund continues to be amplified mainly by donations of private persons. For example, the Buryat collections of the museum were enriched by drawings and engravings of A.N. Sakharovskaya, generously given by the heirs of the artist.
The volume of visual information accumulated in past years made the Illustration fund valuable scientific and museum resource supplementing material and photographic collection of the Russian Museum of Ethnography.