We have rich collections of material in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchu and Mongolian including manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, sound recordings, maps, newspapers and archives.

Collection guides

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues
If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk.

We offer workshops to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

Japanese puppet play revived

Monday, May 29, 2017

On 2nd and 3rd June 2017 a long-lost Jap...

Okinawan manuscripts digitised

Monday, May 8, 2017

The British Library has recently digitis...

Vietnam and Dragons

Friday, March 3, 2017

In Vietnamese culture, as in many other East and South East Asian societies, the dragon plays a very prominent role. It is arguably the most sacred of the four mythical creatures - the dragon, the phoenix, the unicorn and the...

Knowledge Exchange visit to the National Library of China

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

As part of “The British Library in China” Project, the Library recently set up a series of Knowledge Exchange programmes with partners across mainland China and Hong Kong. Gemma Renshaw, Loans Coordinator at the Library, and Robert Davies, Editorial and...

More blog posts


Cataloguing Chinese propaganda posters

Funded by the British Inter-University China Centre

Digitising Chinese oracle bones

We worked with partners in China to digitise more than 480 Chinese 'oracle bones'

All projects

Library experts

Yasuyo Ohtsuka

Curator, Japanese Collections

Hamish Todd

Head of East Asian Collections

Sara Chiesura

Lead Curator, Chinese Collections

Follow BL Asian and African


Peake in China: Memoirs of Ernest Cromwell Peake

Peake in China: Memoirs of Ernest Cromwell Peake

Peake's memoirs provide a fascinating account of a Westerner in China at the turn of the last century.

Cat and butterfly greetings card

Cat and butterfly greetings card

A painting from an album in the style of the Korean artist Chong Son. 17 x 12.5cm blank card.

Sutra of the Ten Kings

Sutra of the ten kings: fine art print

This fine art print of a detail from the Sutra of the ten kings is available framed or unframed in a number of sizes on paper, canvas or perspex.