On June 17, Kazan hosted the opening of the exhibition ‘Islam on Postcards’, marking the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. The exhibition takes place at the Museum of Islamic Culture in the Kazan Kremlin. The 222 postcards were provided by the foundation of Moscow collector Nizami Ibraimov.
The postcards depict places of worship, mosques, famous Muslim public figures and enlighteners, and intellectuals.
These postcards tell a lot about the life of Muslim peoples of the last century and pre-revolutionary Russia. The organizers of the exhibition note that not only the images are of great value, but also their reverse side, where the sender would describe events from his life, and would make notes about his journeys, such as pilgrimage to Mecca.
Visitors to the exhibition, thanks to the portraits on postcards, will probably discover the names of Tatar enlighteners, including Ismail Gasprinsky, Fatikh Karimi, Yusuf Akchura, Sadri Maksudi, Abdurashid Ibragimov and others.
The opening ceremony was addressed by Ilfar Khasanov, Deputy Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ilnur Rakhimov, Director of the Kazan Kremlin State Historical-Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve, Iskander Gilyazov, Director of the Institute of Tatar Encylopedia and Regional Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Guzel Valeeva-Suleymanova, Doctor of Arts in Tatar Islamic Culture, Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan named after Sh. Marjani, and Rosaliya Nurgaleeva, Director of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Representatives of the Consulates General of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey in Kazan were guests of honor at the exhibition.
Ilfar Khasanov noted that the postcards presented at the exhibition were a reminder of the work and heritage left by our Muslim ancestors.
Ilnur Rakhimov thanked the collector, Nizami Ibraimov, on behalf of the museum: “This is not Nizami Ibraimov’s first project in Kazan. This is a curious, concise exhibition project, postcards that depict Islam in an interesting period of the Russian Empire”.
Iskander Gilyazov, Director of the Institute of Tatar Encylopedia and Regional Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan: “A postcard is a kind of historical source. The image and text tell us about the everyday life of Russian Muslims in the early XX century. Honor and praise to Nizami Ibraimov who has collected this unique material. This exhibition should be of interest to all those interested in the history of the Tatars and Islam in our country. It demonstrates how diverse the Islamic world is”.
Guzel Valeeva-Suleymanova noted in her speech that the exhibition was distinguished by the fact that in it one could trace the history not only of the Crimean Tatars, representative of whom collector Nizami Ibraimov is, but also of the Tatars of the Volga region, as well as peoples of Central Asia. She also drew attention to images of mosques on postcards: “The architectural and artistic design of these mosques is typical of Tatar mosques, whether they are in Kazan, Ufa, Irkutsk, Tomsk or Arkhangelsk. All these mosques are built in accordance with the volumetric and spatial solution which is characteristic of Tatar mosques. In fact, these postcards are an encyclopedia of Tatar mosque architecture and in the future a relevant catalogue could be created that would include the images from these postcards”.
The idea to create a catalogue of Tatar mosques from the postcard was supported by Rozaliya Nurgaleeva, Director of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan. She also pointed out that the back side of a postcard was interesting too: “Nizami Ibraimov and I have translated the texts that were on the back side of the postcards into the Russian language and found a lot of interesting things. The tradition of writing of the Islamic world is also a separate topic that needs to be studied”.
Postcard collector Nizami Ibraimov himself delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. He thanked the organizers of the exhibition for the opportunity and added: “Postcards do not always become a historical source. And I am glad that the museum has embraced this project, which we will develop further”. “Note that postcards never have any nasty things written on them. Postcards are made for love and friendship,” the collector noted.
The exhibition is complemented by other printed editions, including books, magazines and documents that tell and show the diversity of the Russian Muslim culture of the past.
According to the press service of the Kazan Kremlin Museum-Reserve, the Islam on Postcards exhibition is open for visitors every day from 9:00 to 19:30.
GSV "Russia - Islamic world"