Alexander Grebenshchikov

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Aleksandr Vasil'evich Grebenshchikov (Александр Васильевич Гребенщиков; 1880-15 October 1941) was a Soviet scholar of the Tungusic languages.[1] He was specifically interested in the origin and development of Manchu writing.[2]

Education and career[edit]

He attended the Oriental Institute in Vladivostok beginning in 1902, where he was educated as a Sinologist, and upon his graduation in 1907 began working as an instructor there; he became a full professor in 1918. From 1908 until 1927 he made a number of trips to Northeast China to perform fieldwork.[3] His focus on his work in collecting Manchu folklore led him to miss out on the extent of language shift to Chinese among the Manchu people; from this, he erroneously concluded that the Manchu language was not endangered.[2] He moved to Leningrad in 1935 to work with the Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS) of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.[3] In 1936, he established the Manchu studies section of the IOS, and became its first chairman, with B. I. Pankratov (1892-1979), K. M. Cheremisov (1899-1982), and V. A. Zhebrovsky working under him.[4] He died during the Siege of Leningrad.[3] He was survived by his wife N. A. Grebenshchikova, who donated his personal archives to the IOS.[4]


Grebenshschikov was one of the last of the early 20th-century Soviet scholars of Manchu to have done his undergraduate education in Sinology; the trend in the mid-20th century was for such scholars to come from a Mongolian studies background.[2] His works on Tungusic languages numbered more than 50, including publication of his еarly collected manuscripts of some important Manchu oral folklore such as the Tale of the Nisan Shaman.[3]


  1. ^ Pang 1995, p. 33
  2. ^ a b c Konakov 1947, p. 421
  3. ^ a b c d Pang 1995, p. 34
  4. ^ a b IOS 2005