BIČURIN, Iakinf (Hyacinth, originally Nikita Jakovlevič B.)

BIČURIN, Iakinf (Hyacinth, originally Nikita Jakovlevič B.). Akulevo, Tsivil’skij district, Kazan Province 29.8.1777* — St.Petersburg 11.5.1853. Russian (Čuvaš) Monk, Orthodox Priest, Sinologist and Central Asian Scholar. Son of a deacon, graduated from Kazan Ecclesiastical Academy in 1799. Ordained as monk in 1802. Head of the Ninth Spiritual Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in Peking in 1807-1821, eagerly studied Chinese language and history. At the end he was accused for neglect of his missionary duties, deprived his rank of archimandrite and in 1823 incarcerated in Valamo (Valaam) Monastery (then in South-East Finland). Released in 1826, he worked as an interpreter at Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St.Petersburg and engaged himself in active literary work. In 1828 he was elected corresponding member of Imperial Academy. In 1835-37 he was in Kjahta founding there the first Russian school of Chinese language. He was the first to write scholarly accounts of China and Central Asia in Russian.

*According to Walravens & Stache-Weiske 2015, 178f. nt. 537 he was born 1770, but other sources agree in 1777.

Publications: Zapiski o Mongolij. 1-2. 339 p. St.P. 1828, German B. 1832; Istorija pervyh četyreh hanov iz doma Čingisova. St.P. 1829; Opisanie Čžungarii i vostočnago Turkestana v drevnem i nynešnem sostojanii. 1-2. St.P. 1829; Istoričeskoe obozrenie ojratov ili kalmykov s XV stoletija do nastojaščego vremeni. 255 p. St.P. 1834.

Opisanie Tibeta v nynešnem ego sostojanii. S kart’ju dorogi iz Čen-du do Hlassy. Perevod s Kitaiskago. St.P. 1828; French transl. “Description du Tubet, traduite du chinois en russe par le Père Hyacinthe, … notes par Klaproth”, JA 2e s., 4, 1829, 81-158, 241-324.

Statističeskoe opisanie Kitajskoj Imperii. 1-2. St.P. 1834; Opisanie Pekina, s priločeniem plana sej stolicy, snjatago v 1817 godu. 130 p. St.P. 1829; Han’-vyn’ ci-myn’. Kitajskaja grammatika. 241 p. St.P. 1835; Kitaj, ego žiteli, nravy, obyčai, procveščeie. 442 p. St.P. 1840; Kitaj v graždanskom i nravstvennom sostojanii. 1-4. St.P. 1848.

Sobranie svedenij o narodah, obitavših v srednej Azii v drevnija vremena. 1. St.P. 1851.

Avtobiografičeskaja zapiska. Ed. P. Savelev. St.P. 1856.

Sources: *Russkij biogr. slovar’ 8 (s.v. Iakinf); Bolščaja sov. ènciklop.; *P. V. Denisov, Nikita Jakovič Bičurin: Očerk žizni i načnoj dejtel’nosti. Čeboksary 1977; *N.S. Moller, “IB v dalekih vospominanijah ego vnučki”, Russkaja Starina 1888:8, 271-300, 9:525-560; *H. Walravens, Iakinf Bičurin, russischer Mönch und Sinologe. Eine Biobibliographie. B. 1988; Wikipedia (briefly, with portrait, but the very long Russian version has many details, further references and several pictures).

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