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Guide to Photographs taken by Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes to illustrate Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs and Osh April-November, 1915

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48

Summary

Bound photograph album containing 48 photographs taken by Sir Percy Moleworth Sykes during his travels in a mountainous region of Central Asia, now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with his sister, Ella Sykes. The gelatin silver prints measure approximately 4 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches and are window-mounted two to a page with calligraphic captions in white ink. Subjects include landscapes, strategic buildings such as forts and trading posts, and local Uighur, Beg, Kyrgyz, and Kazak people and their dwellings and animals, as well as British, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese people and officials. Specific locations in captions include Kashgar, the Tuman River, Yarkand, Khotan, Merkit, Bulunkul, the Pamirs, Tashkurgan, Muztagh Ata, Karakul lake, Tian Shan mountains, and Osh. The images are large, crisp, and rich with detail, offering views of a remote area and its culture during tensions in the decades following the Russo-Turkish War.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11685
Title
Photographs taken by Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes to illustrate Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs and Osh
Date
1915 April-November
Creator
Sykes, Percy, Sir, 1867-1945
Extent
1 albums
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Bound photograph album containing 48 photographs taken by Sir Percy Moleworth Sykes during his travels in a mountainous region of Central Asia, now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with his sister, Ella Sykes. The gelatin silver prints measure approximately 4 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches and are window-mounted two to a page with calligraphic captions in white ink. Subjects include landscapes, strategic buildings such as forts and trading posts, and local Uighur, Beg, Kyrgyz, and Kazak people and their dwellings and animals, as well as British, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese people and officials. Specific locations in captions include Kashgar, the Tuman River, Yarkand, Khotan, Merkit, Bulunkul, the Pamirs, Tashkurgan, Muztagh Ata, Karakul lake, Tian Shan mountains, and Osh. The images are large, crisp, and rich with detail, offering views of a remote area and its culture during tensions in the decades following the Russo-Turkish War.

Sir Percy and Ella Sykes co-authored a book based on this journey, titled Through deserts and oases of Central Asia (1920, available online), and many images in the photograph album were used as illustrations, and are noted in this collection guide. It is clear from the narrative written by Ella Sykes (Part I in the book) that she was also taking photographs during their travels, but according to the album's title statement, the images in this album all were taken by Percy Sykes.

The folio photograph album (11 3/4 by 9 1/2 inches) is bound in half green morocco leather over green cloth boards, and comprises 25 pages with a calligraphic title page in white ink; the volume label inside front cover reads "Kodak Ltd series H album."

All titles were transcribed by library staff from the original album captions. Staff also assigned individual identification numbers to the photographs in sequence as they appear in the album.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Photographs taken by Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes to illustrate Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs and Osh, April-November, 1915, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

The British Consulate-General, Kashgar

Known as Chini-bagh, residence at the time of Sir George Macartney and his wife.

Page 1
Image RL.11685-P-0001
View across the Tuman Su from the terrace of the British Consulate General
Page 1
Image RL.11685-P-0002
The Tuman Su at Kashgar

Three boys on horseback in the water and one boy on the bank. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 2
Image RL.11685-P-0003
A Soothsayer

Elderly man with young boy holding drum. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 2
Image RL.11685-P-0004
The City Wall of Kashgar

Man, woman and two children.

Page 3
Image RL.11685-P-0005
A Kashgar School

Teacher and eight boys, some with books, standing. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 3
Image RL.11685-P-0006
The British Aksakals (or Agents) in Chinese Turkestan

Ten bearded men in turbans, seated.

Page 4
Image RL.11685-P-0007
Kashgari Musicians

Three women, two holding instruments. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 4
Image RL.11685-P-0008
Chinese Soldiers at the feet of the War God

Group of three men. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 5
Image RL.11685-P-0009
A leading Divine, Kashgar

Bearded man in black garb and white turban.

Page 5
Image RL.11685-P-0010
The Pagoda of Pan Chao, Kashgar

Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 6
Image RL.11685-P-0011
The City of Kashgar
Page 6
Image RL.11685-P-0012
Throwing mud at a Shrine as a cure for skin disease

One woman in the act of plastering some mud on a wall. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 7
Image RL.11685-P-0013
Sir George Macartney & Chinese Officials, Kashgar

Group of 15 men, seated.

Page 7
Image RL.11685-P-0014
K.B. Mulla Sabit, British Aksakal, Yarkand

One man, standing, in flowered robe and turban.

Page 8
Image RL.11685-P-0015
The Begs of Yarkand

Group of ten men, with boys in background.

Page 8
Image RL.11685-P-0016
Yarkand Musicians

Three men, three boys, with two horns and several drums.

Page 9
Image RL.11685-P-0017
A Ferry on the Yarkand River

The ferry is carrying men, horses and a two-wheeled cart.

Page 9
Image RL.11685-P-0018
The Amban of Kargalik

One man, seated.

Page 10
Image RL.11685-P-0019
The celebrated "Pigeon Shrine" near Khotan

Man and child standing in front. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 10
Image RL.11685-P-0020
In the Khotan Oasis

Group of people standing on bank with large trees and building behind them.

Page 11
Image RL.11685-P-0021
The site of Yoktan (ancient Khotan)

Three men standing in front of rock wall.

Page 11
Image RL.11685-P-0022
Hunting Eagles of Merkit

Five men on horseback, some holding eagles.

Page 12
Image RL.11685-P-0023
A Dulani Beg of Merkit

One man, standing, in robe and turban. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 12
Image RL.11685-P-0024
Chinese Troops at Khotan

Soldiers standing at attention with rifles and drums.

Page 13
Image RL.11685-P-0025
Tungani General, Khotan

Man seated with soldiers with polearms and flags behind. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 13
Image RL.11685-P-0026
A Tungani Shaykh

Elderly man, seated, with soldiers or guards behind.

Page 14
Image RL.11685-P-0027
Osman Beg of Bulunkul

Seated on pony, with male youth standing next to him.

Page 14
Image RL.11685-P-0028
The Chinese Garrison of Bulunkul

Large group of men on horseback, carrying flags with Chinese symbols.

Page 15
Image RL.11685-P-0029
Kirghiz Women in Gala dress

Group of 10 Kyrgyz women and girls, and one person out of frame, standing in a line front of a yurt.

Page 15
Image RL.11685-P-0030
Loading up in the Pamirs

Several men loading up a yak; a yurt is visible; Pamir mountains in background. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 16
Image RL.11685-P-0031
Russian Officials (with Pamirski Post in the background)

Three men, two in Russian military uniform, with camel and fort in distance.

Page 16
Image RL.11685-P-0032
Bringing in an Ovis Poli

Two men on yaks in the mountains; the figure on the right, with rifle, is Nadir, a huntsman employed by Sykes. The horns of the "ovis poli," or Marco Polo sheep, are just visible on back of one of the yaks. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 17
Image RL.11685-P-0033
Hunting dogs in the Pamirs

One man with two dogs. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 17
Image RL.11685-P-0034
Tashkurgan Fort in the Sarikol Valley

Two men in foreground, fort in background.

Page 18
Image RL.11685-P-0035
Nasir Ali Khan, a leading "Muki" of Sarikol (A "Muki" is a leader of the Aga Khan Sect)

Older man, standing. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 18
Image RL.11685-P-0036
Sarikoli Dancers

Eight men, some with instruments. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 19
Image RL.11685-P-0037
A distant view of Muztagh Ata

Four men on horseback in foreground.

Page 19
Image RL.11685-P-0038
A Glacier from the Muztagh Ata

Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 20
Image RL.11685-P-0039
The Little Kara Kul Lake

Two men on horseback in foreground.

Page 20
Image RL.11685-P-0040
The mêlée – The Game of baghi, or "Hunt the Goat"

Men on horseback playing a ritual game of picking up a stuffed goatskin from the ground. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 21
Image RL.11685-P-0041
A successful pick-up

From the same game with men on horseback. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 21
Image RL.11685-P-0042
The Victor

From the same game. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 22
Image RL.11685-P-0043
The Ulugh Art Glacier
Page 22
Image RL.11685-P-0044
A Ya-Yieh or Yamen Runner

One man with another in background. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 23
Image RL.11685-P-0045
A Serai on the Osh-Kashgar road

Large group of men standing outside a building, a place where caravans pass through.

Page 23
Image RL.11685-P-0046
The Tian Shan range from the West
Page 24
Image RL.11685-P-0047
A cart in the Osh oasis

Two-wheeled cart drawn by horse with man astride. Appears as an illustration in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Persia (1920).

Page 24
Image RL.11685-P-0048
 

Historical Note

Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes (1867-1945), English military officer, diplomat, and explorer, is known for his accounts of the history and culture of Iran (Persia). In 1915 he traveled with his sister, Ella Constance Sykes, through the steppes and mountains of Central Asia, in what was then called Chinese Turkestan. Their experiences were recounted in the book Through Deserts and Oases of Central Asia, published in 1920 and written by Percy and Ella Sykes. Although it seems she took some of the photographs used for the book illustrations, it appears that all the photographs in the album in this collection were taken by Percy Sykes.


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Provenance

The photograph album, Photographs taken by Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes to illustrate Chinese Turkestan, the Russian Pamirs and Osh, April-November, 1915 was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Edward Coles and Paula Jeannet, November 2018. Accession(s) represented in this collection guide: 2018-0148