Mongolian collection

Woodblock-printed page illustrating a Buddhist saint, Chinese and Mongolian scripts in columns
Detail from The Collected Writings of the Mergen Lama of Urad, 1783 (British Library MON. 76, f.1 v.)

The Mongolian collections at the British Library comprise several thousand items, including around ninety rare woodblock prints of Buddhist sutras and religious works.

About the collection

The collection spans several centuries but the majority of the printed material is from the 20th century. These works cover a wide range of subjects.

The material in the Mongolian collection is drawn primarily from the Mongolian Republic, the Inner Mongolian and Xinjiang regions of China, and the Buryat and Kalmyk Republics of Russia. The works are written in a variety of scripts, such as Cyrillic and Vertical Mongolian and Oirat scripts.

What is available online?

The majority of books and periodicals published in the 20th century can be found in Explore the British Library.

The International Dunhuang Project has digitised Mongolian material from Dunhuang and the Silk Road (Stein collection).

Online Gallery and Digitised Manuscripts have a selection of digitised material.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

You can view Mongolian printed materials, manuscripts and archives in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room. Card catalogues and reference material are on shelves in the Reading Room, including two copies of the Catalogue of Mongolian Blockprints in the British Library.

59 Mongolian newspaper titles and over 10,000 Mongolian photographic images are available in digital format in the reading rooms. These were digitised by the Endangered Archives Programme.

We subscribe to a number of electronic resources for the study of East Asia. Most are accessible from within the Library’s Reading Rooms only.