Manchu collection

The Manchu collections at the British Library include manuscripts and early woodblock prints, as well as many 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 Catalogue (Simon,W. and H.G.H. Nelson, London: British Museum Publications, 1977), a copy of which is available on open access in the Asian and African Studies reading room.

The card catalogue, which is ordered by author, subject and title, also provides a good starting point for finding material.

You can use the Library's electronic catalogues to search for and order Manchu items and consult them in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.

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.

How to guides

Find Chinese manuscripts and printed books

There are several catalogues for our Chinese material

Get a Reader Pass

A guide to how to obtain a British Library Reader Pass to use our Reading Rooms