ROERICH, Georg N. (Jurij Nikolaevič Rërih, George Nicolas de Roerich). Okulovka, Valdajskij raion, obl. Novgorod 3.(16.)8.1902 — Moscow 21.5.1960. Russian Tibetologist, lived long time in India. Professor in Moscow. Son of —> N. K. R. and Elena Ivanovna Šapošnikova, grew up in St.Petersburg. Studied Mongolian at St.Petersburg (under Rudnev). Left Russia in 1919, pursued Indological studies in London (E. D. Ross) and, after going with his parents to the U.S.A., in 1920-22 at Harvard (under Lanman, now also Chinese, passed B.A. and M.A.) and 1922-23 in Paris (Lévi, now also Tibetan). In 1923-25 lived in Sikkim, where he learned Tibetan well. In 1925-28 participated in his father’s Central Asian expedition in China and Tibet (now became interested in Bon religion and found new Gesar material). In May 1928 settled at the newly founded Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute in Darjeeling, soon in Kulu (1928-42) and later (1942-57) in Kalimpong, as its Director. In 1934-35 again travelled with his father in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. He lived with his mother, but after her death (1955) in 1957 accepted the chair of Tibetan at Moscow University, thus reviving Russian Tibetology after 1937, also naučnyj sotrudnik at Oriental Institute, 1957-60. Also accepted Soviet citizenship. Dr. filol. nauk 1958. Died of a heart failure after receiving hard political criticism from Soviet colleagues.
Roerich was a many-sided Tibetologist whose research interests included art, prehistory, history, linguistics, epic and religion. He was among pioneers of Tibetan dialectology. Although he was not well versed in modern phonetics and linguistics, he achieved much because of his exceptionally good knowledge of the Tibetan language. His major work is the translation of the Blue Annals, his full bibliography contains more than 100 publications. He revived the Bibliotheca Buddhica series, but after his death it was again discontinued.
Publications: Tibetan Paintings. 95 p. 17 pl. P. 1925.
– “Le Bouddha et seize grands arhats: suite de sept bannières de la province de Khams au Tibet”, RAA 6, 1929-30, 94-100
– “The Animal Style among the nomad tribes of Northern Tibet / Zverinyi stil’ u kočevaikov severnogo Tibeta”, SKYqIKA 3, 1930, 41 p. (in which language?).
– Trails to Inmost Asia. Five Years of Exploration with the Roerich Central Asian Expedition. 524 p. New Haven & L. 1931, French tr. 1933.
– “Modern Tibetan Phonetics with Special reference to the Dialect of Central Tibet”, JASB 27, 1931, 285-312; “The Tibetan Dialect of Lahul”, JUHRI 3, 1933, 83-189 (= Tibetica. 1. Dialects of Tibet.); Le parler de l’Amdo. 159 p. S.O.R. 18. Rome 1958.
– “The Epic of King Kesar of Ling”, JASB 3:8 Letters, 1942, 277-311.
– Translated: The Blue Annals. 1-2. 1275 p. R.A.S.B. Monogr. 7. Calcutta 1949-53.
– With Tsetrung Lobsang Phuntshok: Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan (Dialect of Central Tibet). 235 p. Kalimpong 1957.
– Biography of Dhammasvāmin, a Tibetan monk pilgrim. 119 p. Patna 1959.
– Tibetskij jazyk. 154 p. M. 1961.
– Tibetsko-sanskritsko-russko-anglijskij slovar’. 42 p. M. 1962 (a specimen); ed. by J. N. Parfionovič & B. A. Bogoslovskij & V. S. Dylykov, Tibetsko-russko-anglijskij slovar’ s sanskritsk. paralleljami. 1-11. 379+406+431+374+312+372+320+311+296+344+174 p. M. 1983-87 & 1993.
– A number of articles and reviews in Indian (JASB, JUHRI, Stepping Stones), Western and Russian periodicals and publications; Izbrannye trudy. 573 p. M. 1967.
Sources: J. W. de Jong, IIJ 5, 1961-62, 146-152, with bibliography; Miliband 1977; *E.S. Semeka et al. in Roerich’s Izbr. trudy. 1967, 5-16 with photo; *Dany Savelli, “ Trails to Inmost Asia (1931) de Youri Roerich. Une caution scientifique à l’expédition Roerich en Asie centrale (1925-1928)?”, JA 304, 2016, 145-157; *NAA 1962:4, 247–252, with bibliography; Peterburgskij rerihovskij sbornik 1–, 1998–; photo in Sov. vostokovedenija 1960, another in Bongard-Levin & Vigasin 1984; Wikipedia with photo.
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