Steam Room for Treatment of Bamboo. Chakva


In 1905 Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In the spring of 1912, Prokudin-Gorskii returned to photograph the Caucasus region, including in the territory of Georgia. The southern Caucasus was dominated by the Ottoman Empire beginning in the first half of the 16th century. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into this semitropical area, which included the southern region of Ach’ara and its port city on the Black Sea, Batumi. To the north of Batumi was the settlement of Chakva, which became a center for the cultivation of imported plant varieties, including those used to produce tea, and moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis), a large species of bamboo used for timber and textiles. Native to China and Japan, moso bamboo was transplanted to the region so that it could be used in the construction of furniture and other household objects. Seen here are steamers containing bamboo poles. The steam will soften the bamboo, preparing the poles to be bent and shaped into furniture contours. In the background is a mobile steam engine used in plantation operations. The shed is enclosed with corrugated siding. 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

Парня для правки бамбука. Чаква

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

Last updated: September 28, 2016