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Russian Scientist Roerich and Mongolia

November 28, 2008

S.Batbayar
Montsame (Mongolia)
November 27, 2008

Ulaanbaatar -- The 80th anniversary of an international expedition in
central Asia headed by Russian scientist, painter and archaeologist
N.K.Roerich is marked this month.

For this anniversary, an international symposium titled "The
Roerich's and Mongolia" was organized November 20-21, 2008, by the
International Association of Mongolian Studies, Academy of Sciences,
the Roerich Society of Mongolia and the Roerich Family Museum in St.
Petersburg, Russia.

On September 15 in Ulaanbaatar, 1926, a newspaper "Izvestiya"
published in Russian "A cultural-archaeological expedition arrived
from Moscow on September 12. Heading the expedition is the
world-renowned Russian painter, Roerich. The expedition may stay in
Ulaanbaatar for a long time to study culturally valuable items in
Mongolia's capital city. The expedition includes the painter's son,
young scholar and Sanskrit language master Yuri Roerich. A new book
by him about Tibetan painting was published in 1925 by a printing
house in Paris. The expedition arrived here from southern India
passing the Himalaya and Karakorumsk mountains."

Sh.Bira, a head of the Roerich Society of Mongolia, highlighted that
work undertaken by that first Central Asian expedition led by
N.K.Roerich are very significant in studies on Central Asian
civilization and an expedition objective was to study the
intelligence and civilization of small forgotten countries with low
development in the world, such as Mongolia. He gave a lecture "N.
Roerich is a Great Mongolist", stating that Roerich, still a valuable
heritage for scientific sectors, educated in a number of sciences,
was a socially and culturally famous figure. Mongolia had poor
development in 1926-1927 when the expedition worked in the country;
nevertheless, he saw Mongolia's future optimistically and said
"Mongolia has much potential to exist and aspiration for great
construction". Having forgotten Mongolia, the west has a special
reason to connect with and keep the country as a resource for future
construction." In his story "Mongolia", N.Roerich stated, "A
limitless and hidden sea is still in front of us. Everyone will see
its hidden power in every sector of life, although it is difficult to
understand whether or not this hidden power is occasional. However,
nothing at all is occasional and. therefore, this hidden thing is
reserved for great deeds." When N.Roerich created his ideology on the
unification of historic western and eastern civilizations, he wrote a
scientific treatise on the significances of Mongolia's nomadic
civilization, history and culture and painted many pictures about Mongolia.

Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich was born in St. Petersburg. Russia,
on October 9, 1874. He studied at the Academy of Art at St.
Petersburg University from 1893-1898, simultaneously at the Law
University as well. He wrote,"From 1890s, I saw accurate symbolisms
of their people's morals shown in the main directions of philosophy,
cultural memorials, monuments, literature and religions from ancient
India, China, Tibet and Mongolian culture." For 42 years Roerich
lived in Russia, in India for 20 years, USA for 3 years, Finland for
2 years, France for 1 year, England for 1 year, China for 2 years,
Tibet for half a year and Mongolia for 7-8 months. Roerich twice
toured through Central and Eastern Asia, in 1924 and 1934, and
following his travels in Mongolia's Gobi and Altai Mountains and the
Himalayan Mountains, wrote the books "Heart of Asia" and "Altai-Himalaya".

An important roles for humankind to coexist peacefully, together with
well-known international figures (Einstein, Tagore), initiated the
Roerich Pact during World War II for the purpose of protecting world
cultural values.

N. Roerich's paintings, so attractive with their combinations of
colours, amazing symbols, and secrets, depict hidden ideas and deep
meanings. N.Roerich, knowing the Buddha legend, well toured through
the Indian and Tibetan mountains looking for legendary Shambhala. The
Roerichs are also famous for introducing Shambhala in Buddhist
teachings in western countries.

A small timber house in Mongolia where his expedition team stayed in
1927-1928 currently remains undestroyed in Ulaanbaatar and
participants at the symposium placed a memorial plaque on its wall.
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