LEVCHINE, Alexis de [Алексей Ираклевич ЛЁВШИН].

Description des hordes et des steppes des Kirghiz-Kazaks ou Kirghiz-Kaïssaks.


Description des hordes et des steppes des Kirghiz-Kazaks ou Kirghiz-Kaïssaks.
Traduite du russe par Ferry de Pigny […] revue et publiée par E. Charrière.
Imprimerie royale for Arthus Bertrand, Paris, 1840.

In stock


“Первым фундаментальным монографическим исследованием по географии, истории и этнографии казахского народа является труд А.И.Левшина” (С. Куанышбаев and Е.Б. Рубинштейн, Министерство образования и науки Республики Казахстан, in Учебно – методический комплекс по дисциплине «Источниковедение истории Казахстана, 2010).

First French edition. Rare on the market: we could not trace any copy at auction in the last 35 years.
It contains the same illustrations and map (re-engraved) as the first edition, published in Russian in only 400 copies just 8 years earlier.

One of the founders of the Russian Geographical Society, Liovshin (1798-1879) based his work on the material collected during his service at the Orenburg Border Commission in 1820-22. The author was much praised for his ability to combine scientific research with knowledge acquired directly from interaction with local people. Shokan Valikhanov (1835-65), another great Kazakh historian whose monument stands today in front of the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences in Almaty, called him the “Herodot of the Kazakh steppes”.

Liovshin’s groundbreaking work, first published partially by Pushkin himself, covers the geography, history and ethnicity of nowadays Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan. Thanks to the extent of the work, its detailed researches and its structured method, it became the first comprehensive overview of the socio-political and ethnic Kazakh system. Liovshin extensively analysed most of the available Russian and foreign sources containing ethno-historical records of Kazakhs, and used in his work only information the validity of which he could prove. The large folding Carte du pays occupé par les Kirghiz-Kazaks ou Kirghiz-Kaïssaks et du Turkestan is a rare depiction of land included between, in the North, Orenburg and Omsk and, in the South Bukhara and Samarkand.
Still in Soviet times, researchers such as the Kazakh ethnologist Edige Masanov (1926-65) considered it to be the most fundamental source for research of the Kazakh ethnography and in many cases the only one.


First French edition; 8vo (24 x 15.8 cm). Half-title, title, dedication leaf, vi, 514, [2]pp., with ‘atlas’ title lithographed by Coulon, 10 lithographed plates and a large folding map; some spotting, several marginal tears not affecting text, some neat repairs to the folds of map. Contemporary calf over marbled boards, gilt lettering to spine; extremities slightly rubbed.


Obolyaninov, Katalog Russkikh illustrirovannykh izdaniy 1725 – 1860 (Moscow, 1914), 1461; Gennadi, Russkie Knizhniye redkosti (St. Petersburg, 1872), 157; Ostroglazov 224 (with detailed description of the contents).


Stock ID: 94655