The Library has over 100,000 printed books and 2,500 periodical titles in 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
- 5 Ming dynasty banknotes
- notable imperial manuscripts from the Qing dynasty
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) that is almost continuous from 1820 to 1910.
The collection includes material in Manchu, Tangut and Naxi among others.
What is available online?
Online repositories of external institutions that we collaborate with contain digitised items from our Chinese collection:
- Reading Digital Atlas, Academia Sinica: it contains 128 Chinese maps. To view them, insert 'The British Library' as repository using the 'Search' function.
- The Sino-Japanese War 1894-1895 as seen in Prints and Archives, Japan Centre for Asian Historical Records: it contains 56 prints from the Chinese collection and 179 from the Japanese collection.
The Endangered Archives Programme has digitsed collections from China.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
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.
- Liao, Kebin, Yingguo guo jia tu shu guan cang Zhong wen gu ji mu lu (Beijing: National Library of China Press, 2020)
- 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)