We have rich collections of material in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchu and Mongolian including manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, sound recordings, maps, newspapers and archives.

Collection guides

Readers at desks in the Asian and African Reading Room

Asian & African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk or contact the Asian & African Studies Reference Team.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

Export paintings of Ming and Qing Chinese Interiors and Furnishings

Monday, January 4, 2021

In 2019, Rita dal Martello undertook a P...

Unsōdō and the evolution of design book publishing in Japan

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Japanese Collection of the British L...

When you wish upon a star: The Celestial Weaver Maiden at the Star Festival

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Star Festival 七夕, the night when man...

Radicals and Rebels: The published works of Issachar Jacox Roberts

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

In this blogpost, we return to an item d...

More blog posts


Lotus Sutra Manuscripts Digitisation project

We're conserving and digitising nearly 800 Lotus Sutra manuscripts in Chinese language

Digitising Chinese oracle bones

We worked with partners in China to digitise more than 480 Chinese 'oracle bones'

All projects

East Asian collections highlights

Chinese oracle bone

Between 1300 BC and 1050 BC

Library experts

Sara Chiesura

Lead Curator, Chinese Collections

Mélodie Doumy

Curator, Chinese Collections

Emma Harrison

Curator, Chinese Collections

Han-Lin Hsieh

Curator, Chinese collections

Yasuyo Ohtsuka

Curator, Japanese Collections

Hamish Todd

Head of East Asian Collections