LE COQ, Albert von. Dahlem, Berlin 8.9.1860 — Berlin 21.4.1930. German Archaeologist and Central Asian Scholar. Born in a huguenot family in Berlin, son of André Auguste Le Coq (1827–1894; knighted “von” 1875) and Marianne Poppe. He was educated at Französisches Gymnasium (Berlin) and at Darmstadt gymnasium, but was dismissed before matriculation. His father had been merchant in China (Canton) and also young Le Coq planned to go there. He joined his father’s firm and spent one year in London and six years in the U.S.A. as its agent. As the father of his fiancée demanded an academical degree from his would-be son-in-law, he used his free time studying medicine and graduated Dr.Med. in New York. Back in Germany he married and worked as merchant in Darmstadt. After 12 years of persuasion by his wife he again started studies in the age of 40 and sold his firm in 1900. Studied Arabic, Turkish and Persian at Orientalisches Seminar in Berlin. The silent man was soon noted by F. W. K. Müller and A. Grünwedel, who employed him in arranging a collection of Oriental clothes, a work, which he mainly carried on during nights. In 1901 he participated as a volunteer in Zenjirli expedition in Syria and published afterwards a collection of Kurdish texts, which later (1909) earned him a honorary Ph.D. at Kiel, much to his own surprise. Title of Professor 1913. Married 1888 Elinor Weber, ther only son died in the WW I.
Le Coq participated in the planning of the four Prussian Turfan expeditions, acting himself as head of the second (1904-05) and the fourth (1913-14) and also participating in the third (1905-07). In 1914 he became Director of the Asian Department in Museum für Völkerkunde and was thus capable of devoting time to his Turfan finds. He was mainly an art historian, and his main interest and hypothesis was the great extent of Greek influence in Central Asia. He also developed a good specialist of Old Turkic fragments. As an archaeologist he was ruthless, separating entire wall-paintings, and quarrelled with Grünwedel, who was more interested in preservation. These wall-paintings were put in special museum in Berlin and destroyed during the WW II. By his friends he was characterised as a talented letter-writer and nice company, who even in his last year was always ready to go to pub and joke with his friends (Ross).
Publications: Kurdische Texte. 1-2. 71+97+118 p.B. 1903.
– “Bericht über Reisen und Arbeiten in Chinesisch-Turkistan”, ZfEthnol. 39, 1907, 509-524
– Chuastuanift, ein Sündenbekenntnis des manichäischen Auditores. 43 p. ABeAW 1910; “Dr. Stein’s Turkish Khuastuanift from Tunhuang”, JRAS 1911, 277-314.
– Türkische Manichaica aus Chotscho. 1-3. 61+15+49 p. ABeAW 1911-22.
– Sprichwörter und Lieder aus der Gegend von Turfan. Mit einer dort aufgenommenen Wörterliste. 4+100 p. Bäessler-Archiv, Beiheft 1. Lp. & B. 1911; “Osttürkische Gedichte und Erzählungen”, Keleti Szemle 18, 1919, 50-118.
– Chotscho. Facsimile-Wiedergaben der wichtigsten Funde der ersten Königlichen Preussischen Expedition nach Turfan in Ost-Turkestan. 7+18 p. 45+30 pl. B. 1913; Volkskundliches aus Ost-Turkistan. 7+72 p. 25 pl. B. 1916.
– Die Buddhistische Spätantike in Mittelasien. 1-7. B. 1922-33 (6-7. ed. by E. Waldschmidt).
– “Eine Liste osttürkischer Pflanzennamen”, Baessler-Archiv 6, 1922, 118-133;“Das Lî-Kitâbî”, Körösi Csoma-Archiv 1, 1925, 440-488.
– Bilderatlas zur Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte Mittel-Asiens. 107 p. 225 ill. B. 1925.
– Auf Hellas Spuren in Ostturkistan. Berichte und Abenteuer der 2. und 3. deutschen Turfan-Expedition. 178 p. 108 ill. Lp. 1926, English tr. L. 1928.
– Von Land und Leuten in Ostturkistan. Die vierte deutsche Turfanexpedition. 7+183 p. 48 pl. Lp. 1928.
– Articles in SBeAW, Ostas. Z., Baessler-Archiv, JRAS, JA, OLZ, Mitt.Sem.or.Spr., etc.
Sources: V Moeller, N.D.B. 14, 1985, 36f.; P. Pelliot, RAA 6, 1929-30, 187-188; P. Pelliot, TP 27, 1930, 241-243; E.D. Ross, JRAS 1930, 964-967; Stache-Rosen 1990, 141f.; O. Strauss, OLZ 33, 1930, 393-396 (395-398 bibliography by G. Weibgen); *E. Waldschmidt, Berliner Museen 51, 1930, 52f. with photo (now in his Kl. Schr.), also *Ostas. Z. N.F. 6, 1930, 145-149 & *Atlantis 2, 1930, 382-384; *P. Zieme, “A. v. Le Coq und die manichäischen Studien”, AOHu 63, 2010, 1-8; H. Zimmer, Art.As. 4, 1930-32, 70-73; Bibl. Bouddh. 3, 503-506; Wikipedia with photo; photo in Rau 76 (from Ostas. Z. 1930).
*B.J. Richtsfeld (ed.), “Der Briefwechsel Lucian Scherman–Albert von Le Coq und die Gründe für das Scheitern einer Serindien-Abteilung am Völkerkundemuseum München”, Münchner Beiträge zur Völkerkunde 14, 2010-11, 129-193.