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VESELOVSKY, Nikolay Ivanovich.

Ocherk Istoriko-Geograficheskikh Svedeniy o Khivinskom Khanstve ot Drevneyshikh Vremen do Nastoyashchego

[An Outline of Historical-Geographical Information on the Khanate of Khiva from Ancient Times to the Present Day].

St Petersburg: Panteleyev Bros., 1877 Stock Code: 117826
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An informed argument against the annexation of Khiva

First and only edition, uncommon, with just seven locations on WorldCat. A detailed, but lucid, historical overview of the Khanate of Khiva, part of present-day Uzbekistan, written by the renowned Russian orientalist and archaeologist Nikolay Veselovsky (1848-1918), perhaps best known for his early excavations of Afrasiab, ancient Samarkand. The present work was his first published book, and was based on his master's thesis in the faculty of oriental languages at Saint Petersburg Imperial University, where he had specialised in Arabic and Turkic languages. The book is divided into three main sections explicating the chronology of the Kwarezm Empire and later Khanate of Khiva. A brief summary of its ancient history is followed by more thorough studies of; Uzbek rule (fifteenth century - 1745); the rule of the Inaks' (tribal leaders) (1740-1790s), and the Qungrat dynasty (c.1804 - 1870s). The author pays particular attention to Russo-Khivan relations, and the establishment of the protectorate in 1873, concluding with his thoughts about the final annexation of the khanate: "We are convinced of a pitiful future for the Khanate of Khiva in the present state of things, and if it continues to exist independently, it will happen not because England cares about its inviolability, but because of its location in the midst of surrounding steppe Recently the khan of Khiva expressed his will that the khanate would decisively become a part of Russia. Whether there would there be any profit for us, i.e. would the cost of annexation of Khiva ever be paid off, is difficult to say; but there is no doubt that there would be the benefit for the khanate. From another point of view, the occupation of Khiva is not particularly attractive in strategic terms, as in this regard, it is far inferior to Bukhara or even Kashgar. Thereby, everything testifies against the annexation of the Khanate of Khiva to our domains" (p. 364).

Veselovsky was the first archaeologist to excavate Afrasiab - the ancient part of Samarkand - and to compile detailed descriptions of Samarkand's outstanding architecture: his expedition of 1895 resulted in comprehensive descriptions, drawings and drafts of the Bibi-Khanym mosque and the Gur-e-Amir mausoleum. Later in his career, Veselovky also responsible for the excavation of a number of the most notable kurgans in Southern Russia and Ukraine - the Solokha, Kostromskaya and Maikop kurgans - from which came some of the finest examples of Scythian art, including the Solokha comb and the famous gold stag shield plaque from Kostromskaya.

An attractively presented copy of this uncommon and influential work.

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Octavo (242 x 153 mm). Recent green half morocco to style, marbled boards; title gilt direct to the spine, raised bands, compartments gilt with an Islamic style panel, all edges sprinkled sepia.


Folding genealogical table of the Qungrat khans at the rear.


Title page lightly browned, and with two small repairs, the table and errata page neatly lined with tissue, but overall very good.


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