THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Asian and African studies blog

About this blog

The Asian and African Studies blog is written largely by curators in Asia and African Studies, but also includes contributions from colleagues across the Library, with occasional guest contributions. The blog focuses on the extraordinarily diverse collections in Asian and African Studies which constitute one of the world’s finest resources for the study of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Altogether more than 65,000 manuscripts and over 900,000 printed books cover over 500 languages or language groups, ranging from Chinese, spoken by one-third of the world’s population, to languages of New Guinea spoken by only a few hundred people. Additionally, the Visual Arts collection is made up of about 250,000 photographs, 12,000 drawings by Indian artists, 16,000 drawings by European artists and a sizeable collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and ephemera.

The collections held in Asian and African Studies have their origins in the collections of the British Museum (founded in 1753), and in the Library of the East India Company and its successor, the India Office. They have grown continually, through purchase, donation, copyright legislation and exchange. Today, the British Library continues to acquire material from these regions.

Our materials can be viewed in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room on Floor 3.

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Please feel free to comment on the posts. To keep in touch with new developments, subscribe to our blog by email and follow us on Twitter @BLAsia_Africa and @BL_VisualArts

All text is © British Library Board and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence, except where otherwise stated.