Kurd Woman with Children. Artvin


In 1905 and again in 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. This photograph was apparently taken in the vicinity of the village of Kvartskhana. Nearby is the ancient town of Artvin, which is located in the Kackar Mountains near the Coruh River, some 30 kilometers from the Black Sea (now the extreme northeastern corner of Turkey). For the past several centuries the area has generally been under the control of various Turkish states. Following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the Artvin territory was transferred from the Ottomans to the Russian Empire as part of Batumi Province. The ethnic mix of the area included many Kurds. Seen in this image is a Kurdish woman with three children. The woman is colorfully dressed and wears jewelry. Except for her eyes, her head is covered by a patterned scarf. Required by tradition, this modesty was particularly important for a married woman when having a portrait taken. The young girl also wears a patterned scarf on her head. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Курдская женщина с детьми. [Артвин]

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 28, 2016