the "Turfan Expeditions" and the Berlin Collections

Non-textual materials as sources and objects of research: the "Turfan Expeditions" and the Berlin Collections

Project object

Members of the four "Turfan Expeditions“ (1902-1914) recorded and documented the archaeological sites along the northern silk road (in today’s Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, PR China). The Turfan archives of the Expeditions comprise drawings and paintings, maps, all prepared in situ, and a comprehensive photographical documentation and other documents. The historical photographs showing archaeological sites, persons, scenes from daily life and objects, will – where possible – be supplemented with place- and personal names and descriptions of objects. The index of the Turfan files will be made accessible, too.

Project term


Project participant(s)

  • Museum für Asiatische Kunst der SPK 
    Ethnologisches Museum der SPK


Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM)


Project manager:
Matthias Kaun (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Head of the East Asian Department)

Research Associates: 
Dr. Ayisima Miersulitan (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, East Asian Department)

Dr. Caren Dreyer (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (SMB))

Technical coordination and overall technical responsibility:
Dr. Martina Siebert (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, East Asian Department)

Digital content coordinator:
Dr. Maurice Mengel (Ethnologisches Museum und Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Head of the Media Department)

Coordination at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst:
Dr. Lilla Russell-Smith (Curator of Central Asian Art) 

Read more about the project

Project website