September 1928. Twenty-one loose pencil drawings (two slightly coloured), including nineteen large ones ca. 18x27 cm (7 ¼ x 10 ¾ in), and two smaller ones, ca. 13,5x18 cm (5 ¼ x 7 in). All but four drawings with period pencil captions on recto or verso; ten additionally dated September 1928 in pencil. Housed in a period folded card with an ink title “1928. Turkmenistan. A journey to Merv.”. Some drawings with minor stains, a couple with small creases on the margins, but overall a very good collection.
Interesting unusual collection of pencil drawings created by a Soviet traveller to Ashgabat and Merv in 1928. The drawings give a vivid impression of the old colonial Turkmenistan, almost unchanged after the establishment of the Soviet rule. The earthquake of 1948 and the major reconstruction of the 1950s and 1960s will dramatically alter the appearance of Ashgabat and the country in general. Seven drawings show Ashgabat, which became the capital of Soviet Turkmenistan in 1924. They include panoramic views of the city and the distant hills of the Kopet Dag mountains, pictures of the “market rows,” “a small house in the inner yard,” and a sketch of an ancient mosque in the nearby town of Annau. Two uncaptioned drawings show Russian pre-revolutionary buildings, most likely, also in Ashgabat. Seven drawings depict the oasis of Merv (Mary since 1937) – a small settlement located near the site of the ancient Merv (one of the largest centres on the Silk Road, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The drawings show the buildings of the city bazaar and horse market, traditional “chaikhana” teahouse, a residential house, and the interior of a mosque. Five drawings without a specified location depict a resting Turkmen, exterior and interior of traditional yurts, a cartwheel, a traditional jug, etc. Overall an attractive collection of original drawings of Turkmenian cities from the 1920s.