Thursday , 30 March 2017
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A cloth merchant in Samarkand (1910)

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A cloth merchant in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) sits in his stall in this photograph taken by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii circa 1910.

Between 1909 and 1912, Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in a quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. When these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun.

The lands where he photographed Muslim worshippers and scholars were the centre of Islamic learning and scholarship in the past, in which the likes of Imam Bukhari and Imam Tirmidhi had once lived.

The photos were made available by the Library of Congress, which had purchased the original glass plates in 1948. (Friday Times)