The State Silk Museum of Georgia holds the only documentary evidence of the practice of sericulture in the 19th century. Taken during expeditions of the Caucasian Sericulture Station in 1890-1901, the photographs provide ethnographic material about the population of Caucasus.
Founded in 1887, the State Silk Museum – formerly Caucasian Sericulture Station – was a research institution aiming to promote and increase awareness of sericulture and silk production in the Caucasus, part of the Great Silk Road. The institution holds an extensive collection of photographs, the earliest of which were taken by photographer Kostantin Zanis and other employees of the Station during expeditions around the Caucasus in 1890-1901. The photographs depict the process of silk production, ethnography, portraits, natural environment and architecture.
A third of the photographs of the project are in the permanent exhibition of the museum. They are preserved in outdated storage material. Many of the photos are deformed and faded and the negatives no longer exist, making the photographs the only surviving copies.
The project digitised 534 photographs, which were researched and reattributed, so that comprehensive information was added to the catalogue entries. In partnership with the Georgian National Museum, the project trained the staff at the Silk Museum. The purchased equipment and the training will allow the digitisation work to continue after the end of the project. The State Silk Museum’s new website will house the full collection of digitised images, as well as parts from all collections of the Museum.