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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions 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

BUDDHISM at the British Library

Friday, October 25, 2019

This is the seventh of a series of blog posts accompanying the British Library exhibition on Buddhism, 25 Oct 2019 – 23 Feb 2020 Buddhism is a new British Library exhibition exploring the origins, philosophy and contemporary relevance of one...

Buddhism in Practice: The Yogacara Food Offering Service

Monday, September 30, 2019

This is the fifth of a series of blog po...

Jesuit Mission Press ‘Feiqe monogatari’ now online

Friday, May 3, 2019

One of the most important items in the B...

A Jesuit Atlas of Asia in Eighteenth-Century China

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Today's post is by guest blogger Xue Zhang, PhD candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University. Xue Zhang is working on Qing China’s geographical knowledge of Xinjiang in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a special interest in cartography....

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

Related events




Discover the art, origins and its relevance today

Talks and Discussions

Buddhism in China

The profound influence on religion and culture.

Talks and Discussions

Buddha's Daughters: Women in Buddhism Today

On the Saffron Road

Talks and Discussions

Buddhism In Conflict

Understanding violence and intolerance in Buddhist societies.

View all events

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