About the Asian Collection
The collection covers various subjects including:
- astronomy and astrology
- divinations and the interpretation of dreams
- medicine and the history of medicine
The diversity of content is matched by the diversity of materials used, including metal, bamboo, bone, ivory and palm leaves and microfilm. In addition, the collection covers a wide range of geographical areas and languages.
The Library is involved in a number of projects relating to its Asian collections:
Wellcome Arabic Manuscripts
The Wellcome Library, in partnership with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and King's College London, created Wellcome Arabic Manuscripts Online, a free, searchable, online library of around 500 manuscripts in Arabic script. The manuscripts come from the Wellcome Library, and include the collection of Dr Sami Ibrahim Haddad (1890-1957), a well-known Lebanese physician and historian of medicine. The project was partly funded by JISC.
Jain Manuscript Project
This is a joint project with the Bodleian Library (Oxford). The Wellcome Library holds some 2000 Jain manuscripts, the largest collection outside India, with some texts unique even on the sub-continent. Jainism is an ancient sect in India that is particularly noted for its belief in non-violence.
Sultan Iskander Horoscope
This is a superb example of medieval Iranian painting, astral science and mathematical calculation. The project aims to produce a facsimile edition of the work, with accompanying booklet.
Dr Nikolai Serikoff is producing a series of finding aids for the Islamic manuscript collections.
Accessing the Asian Collection
The majority of Asian Collection materials are held in closed stores. If you would like to view items in the Library, you will need to request them online through the Library catalogues. To save time, we recommend ordering material before your visit. Find out more about request and delivery services at the Library
To limit your search to Asian Collection materials, search the Library catalogue. Select 'Asian Collection' from the drop-down menu. The brief catalogue descriptions use Romanised script.
Search for materials in the Asian Collection
Detailed descriptions of the major Asian manuscript collections can be found in printed catalogues. Many of the these catalogues are available online in PDF format, and all may be consulted in the Library's Rare Materials Room.
For more information on the Asian Collection, email the Collections team at email@example.com or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.
The collections comprise the following major geographical areas and languages:
Non-Islamic Near and Middle East
About 100 manuscripts in:
- Syriac, with Egyptian papyri.
Islamic Near and Middle East
About 2000 manuscripts in:
About 9000 manuscripts in most of the major Indo-Aryan languages including:
About 400 manuscripts in:
About 200 manuscripts and block printed books in:
About 300 manuscripts and block printed books in: