101756 | RUSSIA. Railroad bronze Medal.
101756 | RUSSIA. Railroad bronze Medal. Issued 1891. Commemorating the Central Asian Exhibition in Moscow (39mm, 29.64 g, 12h). By I. A. Gebhardt.
Camel caravan advancing in foreground to left; to right, approaching locomotive; all set within polylobe, with decorative designs in angles and Arabic legends in spandrels; ΙΛ9Ι below / СРЄДНЄ–АЗIАТСКАѦ ВЫСТАВКА ВЪ МОСКВѢ / 1891 ГОДА, crowned coats-of-arms of Turkestan and Moscow; all set upon crowned ermine mantle. Edge: A few light marks, otherwise plain.
Diakov 1061.2. Choice Extremely Fine. Warm brown surfaces. Fairly scarce and highly exotic.
Somewhat confusing in name, "Turkestan," the arms of which are presented on the reverse of this medal, never referred to specific country, but was more of a historical region roughly corresponding to present-day eastern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and Xinjiang. At the time of this exhibition, the region was under the authority of the mighty Russian Empire. It garnered a large amount of attention during the expo, particularly the region's natural resources, as conveyed in Space, Image and Display in Russian Central Asia, 1881-1914 by Jennifer M. Keating: "Even the largest exhibition dedicated solely to the region, the 1891 Central Asian exhibition in Moscow, while undoubtedly having a broad remit to include sections on history and ethnography, retained a powerful emphasis on Turkestan’s material resources. Although ethnographic material, maps, models of the Transcaspian railway and portraits could all be found on display, the overall aim of the exhibition’s planners, beyond showcasing the ‘particularities of life in Russian Central Asia, the Khanates and Persia’, was clearly stated as familiarising the public with ‘Central Asia’s natural resources, with items of import and export.'" It is uncertain if it is this Transcaspian railway that is depicted on the medal here, or that of the Trans-Siberian railway, as both were in progress at the time and would reach their completions in the early 20th century. Given the route of the Transcaspian, this railway is much more likely.