Manchu collection

Detail from a poem in Manchu written in seal-script in vertical columns
Detail from a rare 1748 edition of Emperor Qianlong’s “Eulogy on Mukden”, the Han-i araha Mukden-i fu bithe. Shelfmark: 19957.c.7.

The Manchu collection at the British Library includes manuscripts and early woodblock prints, as well as items containing both Manchu and Chinese, Mongolian or other languages of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

About the collection

The majority of the Library woodblock prints and manuscripts in Manchu were collected during the 18th and 19th centuries. Printed material includes more recent facsimile copies and transcriptions of rare works as well as 20th century books and periodicals in Western languages about Manchu language and history. We continue to purchase modern printed material relating to Manchu studies and the history of the region.

Material in Manchu, as well as works relating to the Qing dynasty and Manchukuo can also be found in maps, visual arts, the India Office Records and the India Office Library.

What is available online?

You can search for Manchu manuscripts and woodblock prints in Explore Archives and Manuscripts. Printed material can be found in Explore the British Library.

Our Digitised Manuscripts page contains a selection of digitised material. 

A number of key electronic resources for the study of East Asia are available at the British Library. For licensing reasons, most of these may be accessed only from the Library's Reading Rooms.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

We are gradually transferring the contents of hard-copy catalogues into our online catalogues. Until the process is complete, readers may also wish to consult Manchu Books in London: a Union Cataloguea copy of which is available in the open shelves of the Asian and African Studies reading room.

The card catalogue in the Asian and African Studies reading room, which is ordered by author, subject and title, also provides a good starting point for finding material.

For conservation reasons, some material is restricted, in which case special arrangements for viewing must be discussed in advance and approved by the curators.

Self-service photography is allowed for certain categories of material.