The Library has over 100,000 printed books and 2,500 periodical titles in the Chinese language.
About the collection
The collection includes:
- notable printed pieces from the Ming and Qing dynasties
- the 868 AD Diamond Sutra (Jingang jing)
- more than 450 oracle bone pieces
- 24 volumes of the Ming dynasty compilation Yongle Dadian, corresponding to 49 chapters - the largest collection in Europe.
Our collection of Chinese newspapers and serials is largely based upon the titles from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong acquired through local publications ordinances from the late 19th century, including a run of the Peking Gazette (Jingbao) from 1820.
The collection includes material in Manchu, Tangut and Naxi among others.
What is available online?
The International Dunhuang Project has digitised Chinese material from Dunhuang and the Silk Road (Stein collection).
The Endangered Archives Programme has digitsed collections from China.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
Several catalogues are available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room to help you find Chinese manuscripts and printed books in our collection.
A number of key electronic resources for the study of East Asia are available. For licensing reasons, most of these may be accessed only from the Reading Rooms.
- Contemporary China Institute, A Bibliography of Chinese Newspapers and Periodicals in European Libraries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975)
- Simon, W. and Howard G.H. Nelson, Manchu Books in London: a Union Catalogue (London: British Museum Publications, 1977)
- Wood, Frances, Chinese Illustration (London: British Library, London, 1985)
- Wood, Frances and Mark Barnard, The Diamond Sutra: The Story of the World's Earliest Dated Printed Book (London: British Library, 2010)