Tbilisi, 1923-1946. The collection of 564 issues. Complete sets of the year runs: 1931, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946. Incomplete sets (usually lacking few to several issues): 1923-1928, 1930, 1932, 1934-1937.
Full descriptions of all present issues are available upon request.
This is a collection of 16 bound volumes and 60 separate issues of the most popular Georgian satirical magazine, Niangi (i.e. Crocodile). From 1924 till 1930 the magazine was named Tartarozi (i.e. The Imp).
The history of satirical periodicals in Georgia can be traced back to 1907, when Akaki Tsereteli (1840-1915) published the first Georgian-language satirical magazine Khumara (i.e. The Clown). Although only one of the issues survived censors, The Clown gave impetus to the emergence of numerous satirical publications in the Georgian press (all of them short-lived due to the censorship). Taking its first steps in the first decade of the 20th century, the Georgian tradition of satirical magazines reached its peak on June 3, 1923 when the Niangi magazine was first printed.
Published only a year after the appearance of Russian ’Crocodile’ (1922), Niangi’s first issue came out during a comparatively lenient period of Soviet censorship: “Niangi reserves the right to make anyone it wants to cry or laugh. Herewith it is entitled to bite or eat whoever it wants” (Niangi. 1923. #1). While early issues of the magazine subtly criticized various aspects of Soviet reality (bureaucracy, militsiya, etc.), this type of jests were gradually removed in the years that followed. The anti-communist stories, satirical plays and accusatory poems that flooded pages of Niangi overtly supported Soviet politics and repeated the Russian Krokodil’s messages. Jokes were chiefly directed against the Mensheviks, White Russians, Europe/America, and Christianity. Although the literary content of the magazine was written by some of the most prominent proletarian writers of the time, majority of them opted to sign their works with pseudonyms: Jellyfish (Simon Gachechiladze), Someone (Grigol Abashidze), Etsreli (Karlo Kaladze), Turquoise (Ioseb Grishashvili), Mosquito (Nestor Kalandadze), Grenade/Crazy (Sandro Euli), Onisime (Noe Zomleteli), Waka (Sezman Ertatsmindeli), etc. At different times the magazine was edited by Silibistro Todria, Sandro Euli, Grigol Abashidze, etc.
From the very beginning Niangi served as a meeting point of such famous artists as Apolon Kutateladze, Sandro Nadareishvili, Davit Natsvlishvili (Doni), Davit Kutateladze, Oskar Schmerling, Ioseb Kokiashvili, Mose Toidze, Irakli Toidze, Lado Gudiashvili. While the design of the magazine had always been quite advanced, it reached its excellence in the 1930s when Niangi started to feature satirical covers by Vasiliy Krotkov (1932. #21; #26; #27; 1934. #6; 7; 1935. #5), Petr Briusev (rear cover of #24, 1934), M. Lebeshev (#10, 23/24 of 1934), G. Isaev (#17,1935; #1, 4,1936), etc. The focus of cartoons changed according to the political and social challenges of the time. In the early years, caricatures poked harsh fun at the Soviet ‘enemies’ (priests, Mensheviks, Europe, etc). After the introduction of the first five-year plan in 1928, the magazine began to feature agitation covers propagating the advantages of the new policy and presenting the workers in a heroic light. During World War II, Niangi put a lot of effort into ridiculing Germany, mocking Hitler for making the greatest mistake of his life – attacking the Soviet Union. Although in smaller quantity, the magazine still showcased photomontages by Sandro Nadareishvili (#14, 1929; #13, 1931), Mariash (#9, 1930), Otarov (#17-18, 1938) and a number of unknown artists (#17, 1931; #17-18, 1938).
In all, a major milestone of the Soviet satirical print.