Bidobadkhan and Ubiybatko

Autor of text: 

Looking through the old newspapers is incredibly interesting thing. Fortunately, there is plenty in my old cellar. Today I would like to introduce you to the advertising, which is hundred and twenty years old. It's not just advertising - these are the posters of various commercial and other establishments in the glorious cities of Verniy, Orenburg and Akmolinsk.

At the end of the XIX century there were very worthy attractions in Akmolinsk: 142 booths and shops, performing petty trading of Asian goods and various petty products; 55 stalls, selling dried fruit, soap, tobacco and other goods; 38 drinking houses; 17 shops selling manufacture, "colonial", "red" and "Asian paper goods"; 3 exchange places, 2 station and 2 tea shops. There was one photographic shop, a master watchmaker, several hairdressers and distillery.

Here is a sign sported on one barber shop: "Here shave blood an solved", and further there was a totally incomprehensible poster of a shoemaker: "Time, is, mast. Kuzma Fedorov". This meant: "Temporary guild master Kuzma Fedorov".

There were illustrated signs. There was a beer shop on the main street of Akmola, the sign of which depicted a bottle of beer poured by a hissing fountain to a glass. The bottle had an inscription: “What a beer!”. 

A wonderfully illustrated sign decorated Torgovaya street in Verniy: it showed a fire-breathing Vesuvius, smoking the pork pieces and lamb carcasses. On the corner of Torgovaya and Pushkin a sign hung: "Pianist and Royalist", across the Green bazaar "Steklovatel", aka "The Glass Artist" lived,  a sign "Children's production" was on the toy shop near the officers' meeting, “Sale of different flours” was on one of the barns, “Tailor Ivan Dobrokhotov of foreigners" lived nearby, “Military Prokhorov” located in the Small village, and across the road - "Panticularistic Trofim” (it was understood, that the tailor makes particularistic plain dress). There was a sign on one of the dyers: “Here dye, sanforize and also passing machine".

Such fun little sign-poster could be seen in one of the drinking establishments of Orenbourg. This sign pictured a moustached man, seated at the round table with a glass in hand. On the other hand there was a lady, she gave a smoking pipe to the Mister, while striving to take the glass back. There was the following quatrain at the bottom:

Leave the wine, smoke tobacco!
You will expel all the grief.
I swear, you will cheer up so much,
As if you get drunk for poltina!

It should be noted that the best restaurants and pubs in the old times did not have any signs with the inscriptions, but others loved signs very much. The sultan and sultana were presented in one restoration - the gentleman and lady of huge height in the Turkish national costumes. They read "Semirechye statements" somehow. Here is a non-intrusive advertising. There were other signs in taverns depicting fabulous Phoenix in flame, bear in thought, again, with the newspaper. The peasants, peacefully sitting at a round table covered with tea service, a samovar, bottles and snacks, were portrayed over simple restaurants. 

Artists drawn attention to the behaviour of their characters. They forced them to pour the tea, drink a glass of vodka in the most improbable of graceful poses, quite unusual for visitors to such sites. Sometimes human figures on the signs were replaced by objects: a tea glassware, caviar, rasstegai, pancakes, cucumbers and a decanter of vodka - the latter image speaks for itself very eloquently, it was simply impossible to resist. There was a tavern close to the Kazenniy garden with the inscription: "Here is a Tavern for visitors and those who come with dining and evening meals and pancakes."

Golden grapes, as well as naked babies, mischievous offsprings of Bacchus with wreaths of Ivy on their heads, with bowls, with tassels of grapes in their hands, were  portrayed on the signs of wine cellars. Artists drew leaping goats, probably believing that the ancient Greeks attributed this horned animal the glory of the wine drink invention. Thick Dutch, Arabs, Americans with cigars in their teeth, or masters, making cigars and chopping tobacco were drawn on the signs of tobacco shops and cigar factories.

Naked black men or groups of Cupids, both white and black, all smoking cigars, were very popular as well. Turks or Hindus in turbans, pensively smoking a hookah, were also depicted. However, the midwives in the old days were particularly ingenuity and wit. 

In addition to traditional signs such as "Midwife - a Dutch with education",  a colourful signboard also existed, on which was depicted a cornucopia, and pink newborn babies rained from it. The moustached happy father stood under the babies, holding two tomato-like children in each hand.


Finally, about the sport. Such billboards were few, maybe only  three or four samples in Verniy, but they were quite remarkable: "The great fighter from the French colonies Abu Ali Bidobadkhan can teach anyone to put the enemy on the shoulder," "Ancient Indian chess game! Master from the Western Bohemia, Emil von Glandenshprung, trains for the money!" And finally: "Esaul Ubiybatko teaches fine ladies not to afraid of horses, donkeys and other animals!".


Illustrations are from the archive of Yuri Alonkin

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