Find Chinese manuscripts and printed books

Street scene from a 19th century Chinese export album (Or. 11539)

You may need to consult a number of different catalogues to find items in our Chinese collection.

We are gradually transferring the contents of hard-copy catalogues into our online catalogues. Until the process is complete, readers should consult the catalogues below to find detailed descriptions of our Chinese holdings.

Printed books and periodicals

Two hard-copy catalogues of the Chinese language printed and periodical collections are available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room:

  • Microfiche Wade-Giles catalogue, which contains items acquired before 1966.
  • Pinyin card catalogue, which contains items acquired after 1966.

The scanned copies of these catalogues are also available for download here: (Wade-Giles) (Pinyin)

Two of electronic catalogues contain more recent printed items:

The union catalogue of Chinese rare books of the National Central Library (Taipei) lists our pre-1912 printed holdings.


Search the online catalogue Explore Archives and Manuscripts in addition to the following catalogues which are on shelves in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room:

The Chinese manuscripts from Dunhuang and the Silk Road (Stein collection) have been catalogued and digitised by the International Dunhuang Project.

Collection guides

Korean collection

Historical texts and contemporary publications

Japanese collection

Material from the 8th century to the present

Chinese oracle bones

Among the oldest items in the British Library

Japanese manuscripts and early printed books

Works created before the Meiji Restoration of 1868

Manchu collection

Manuscripts, woodblock prints and works relating to the Qing dynasty

Chinese stamps

19th and 20th-century stamps from China

Mongolian collection

Thousands of items from the Mongolian Republic, China and Russia

Chinese collection

Includes over 100,000 printed books and 2,500 periodical titles in Chinese

Chinese propaganda posters

89 posters dating from 1950 to 1982

India Office Records: Central Asia Resources

Central Asian resources in the archives of the East India Company and the pre-1947 government of India

Asian government publications

Our collections are particularly strong for the Indian subcontinent

Stein collection

Over 45,000 items collected by Sir Marc Aurel Stein

India Office prints, drawings and paintings

We have one of the world’s richest archives of prints and drawings from South Asia

India Office Records and Private Papers

Archives of the East India Company and the pre-1947 government of India