MERVART, Aleksandr Mihailovič

MERVART, Aleksandr Mihailovič (Gustav-German Hristianovič M., Meerwarth). Mannheim 1884 — Uhtpečlag 1932. Russian (German born) Indologist (Tamil Scholar) and Ethnograph. Grew up in Germany, but from 1911 teacher of German in a gymnasium in St.Petersburg. In 1912 took Russian citizenship and orthodox religion and married with —> L. A. M. In 1914 he went to India with his wife in order to do field-work and collect material for Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St.Petersburg. They worked in Sri Lanka and South India, but visited also the north (even Kashmir and Assam) and lived for a while in Calcutta. The war kept them for a long time from returning. They finally left India in 1918 and went to the Far East (Vladivostok), but were able to come back to European Russia only in 1922. Their extensive collections included 6000 material objects, 800 books and thousands of photographs. He worked for a while in Vladivostok. Back in Leningrad in 1924-30 he worked in Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography and taught at the university. In December 1929 or January 1930 he was arrested because of his foreign contacts and German background and in 1931 was sentenced for five years to concentration camp, where he then died.

Publications: translations from Tamil, report of travels etc.

– “The Dramas of Bhāsa: A literary study”, JASB N.S. 13, 1917, 261-280.

– “Les Kathākalis du Malabar”, JA 209, 1926, 193-284.

Sources: Vasil’kov et al. 1990, 97; Bongard-Levin & Vigasin 1984, 105f. (defective); N. Poppe, Reminiscences. Western Washington 1983; *Vigasin 2008, 507-534, with photo. Never mentioned by Miliband!

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