Chinese books were among the Library's earliest acquisitions after its foundation in 1602 and numbered over 100 volumes by the end of the 17th century. By the 1920s, following the acquisition of key collections in the 19th century, including 1,500 Protestant missionary publications, Oxford had one of the finest Chinese book collections outside the Far East. The modern sinological collection, which began to develop after the Second World War, concentrated on traditional literature, history, philosophy and religion. More recently, the Library has begun systematically to acquire materials relating to the study of modern China, including local gazetteers, reproductions of 20th century newspapers and a wide range of electronic resources in Chinese. It is now one of the largest and fastest-growing Chinese collections in Europe.
The Library has a handful of Mongolian manuscripts. Printed resources are more numerous and include works produced in China, Inner and Outer Mongolia and other areas with Mongolian-speaking populations, together with a range of supporting material.
The Bodleian Library has a significant collection of Tibetan manuscripts, many of which were acquired in the 19th century. In recent years, substantial bequests from two Tibetologists, Michael Aris and Hugh Richardson, have greatly strengthened resources for modern Tibetan and Himalayan studies, in terms of both archival and printed materials. The Tibetan manuscripts digital catalogue is at Karchak.
See more information about Oriental Manuscripts & Rare Books here.