Author: Boris PANKRATOV
August 29, 2002 is the 225th anniversary of the birth of great Russian Orientalist Nikita Bichurin, aka Father Jacinth (1777-1853), who made an outstanding contribution to the development of Russian and world science. The creative work of this outstanding scholar fully manifests the best features inherent in traditional Russian research culture, and his literary legacy is so vast that publishing it in full continues to wholly occupy Oriental studies to this day.
In so doing, the many years of Nikita Bichurin's work provide a wealth of information and diverse observations for those researching the history, geography, law, and ethnography of China, and Central and Middle Asia. The study and assimilation of Bichurin's legacy, which began in the 19th century, have been carried out in three areas: 1) preparing his essays for publication and republication; 2) scientific comprehension of the meaning of his works for world Sinology; and 3) studying Nikita Bichurin's life, his creative journey and his difficult lot in life.
All three of these areas were highlighted in the works of prominent Russian Orientalist, Mongolia expert, Sinologist, Tibet expert, and Buddhism researcher Boris Pankratov (1892-1979), who went down in the history of our science primarily as a scholar of unique erudition, and a rare connoisseur of languages and Far Eastern culture in its most diverse manifestations. "He excelled among his colleagues with his special talent and knowledge, unusual life, and international renown, which was rare in our country in those years." 1