St. Petersburg: Bortnevsky, 1871. Item #601
107,  pp. 19,5x13 cm. With a folding lithographed map at rear. Period style dark green quarter sheep with marbled papered boards; spine with raised bands and gilt lettered
title. Front original publisher’s wrapper bound in. Wrapper with minor tears neatly repaired, paper slightly age toned, map with minor creases, otherwise a very good copy.
First and only edition. Very rare imprint with only five paper copies found in Worldcat. Historically significant first-hand account of the 1870 Russian diplomatic mission to the Khanate of Bukhara. Lead by Colonel Nosovich, the mission numbered five Russian military officers and officials, including Kostenko (1841-1891), and aimed to secure Bukhara’s support and collaboration in the forthcoming Russian clash with the Khanate of Khiva. The mission dates to the period of active Russian advance in Central Asia in the course of the Great Game, with the Khanate of Bukhara itself, together with its northern neighbour the Khanate of Kokand having accepted the position of Russian vassals in 1868 (both will become Russian protectorates, in 1873 and 1876 respectively). The soon-to-be Khiva Expedition led by the General Governor of Russian Turkestan von Kaufman (who also organized the 1870 mission described by Kostenko) ended in 1873 with the capture of Khiva and the inclusion of the Khanate into the Russian Empire as protectorate.
The 1870 mission was successful, and the Emir of Bukhara Muzaffar al-Din Bahadur Khan (1834-1885) promised his support to Russia. Kostenko’s account was first published in the “Voyenny Sbornik” [Military Collection] magazine in 1870, and the book edition was issued the next year in a significantly enlarged form. The book consists of five chapters and describes Kostenko’s travel from Tashkent to Bukhara via Jizzakh and Samarkand, the mission’s one-month stay in Bukhara, the audiences with Emir Muzaffar, the first minister, and the heir to the throne ‘Said Abd al-Ahad Khan (1859-1911); two chapters contain vivid descriptions of contemporary Samarkand and Bukhara. There are interesting notes on the Afghan diplomatic mission which visited Bukhara at the same time, climate of Bukhara and most common diseases, attempts of Bukhara merchants to sell to Kostenko some of the personal belongings of Arthur Conolly and Charles Stoddard, who had been executed there in 1842; life of foreigners in the khanate (Jews, East Indians, Persians, separately – of Russian castaways and prisoners); main Russian and English goods sold in Bukhara, etc. The map in good detail shows the terrain between Tashkent and Bukhara, marking all
cities and villages, rivers and mountain ranges, and existing roads, thus allowing a precise overview of the mission’s route and possibilities of planning other travels in the Khanate of Bukhara. Overall an important little-known privately printed Russian book on Central Asia written in the midst of the Great Game.