Heroic Feats of General G.'s Division on the Caucasian Front


This print showing a battle on a mountain in thick fog is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “During the famous battles at Sarikamish and Karaurg the division of General G. made very difficult crossings amazingly quickly. General G., following the internal lines of operation, rushed from Kars and decisively defeated the Turks in a battle on the night of December 16. In just one area of the battle alone, the Turks lost about 1,000 men. Having defeated the enemy here, General G. led his division again through Kars and Novo-Olim and struck the Turks at another point. Fighting in the thick fog and during a terrible blizzard, the Russians were deep to their waists in the snow, but they captured the fortified mountain positions of the Turks. Finally, on the night of December 28, and without firing a single shot on the descent from the 8,000-foot mountain, the troops under General G. attacked the enemy with bayonets and captured many prisoners.” The “General G.” of this caption may refer to Arshak Gafavian, the commander of a volunteer Armenian unit in the Russian army that fought in the Caucasus campaign. Lubok is a Russian word for popular prints created from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or later, by using lithography. The prints were often characterized by simple, colorful graphics depicting a narrative, and could also include text. Lubok gained popularity in Russia beginning in the late 17th century. The prints, which often depicted narratives from a historical event, literature, or a religious tale, were used to make such stories accessible to illiterate people. These expressive prints had a wide range in tone, from humorous to instructive to sharp political and social commentary. The images were clear and easy to understand, and some of the pictures were serialized, predecessors of the modern comic strip. Prints could be reproduced inexpensively, and were thus a way for the masses to display art at home. Initially, this artistic style was not taken seriously by the upper classes, but by the end of the 19th century, lubok was so well-regarded that it inspired professional artists. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

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Publication Information

I. D. Sytin Partnership Lithography, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Геройские подвиги дивизии генерала Г. на Кавказском фронте

Type of Item

Last updated: November 14, 2017