The China/Mongolia Team was established
after a divisional reorganization in 2004. The team has responsibility
for the Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan collections as well as several
special collections. Team members focus on collection development,
reference services and outreach programs.
(Complete Survey of Medical Knowledge).
Beijing: Imperial Edition, 1743.
One of the largest in the world outside of China,
the Chinese collection of the Library of Congress began in 1869 when the Library
received ten works in 933 volumes from Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874), part of an
exchange authorized by Congress. A Division of Chinese Literature was established
in 1928 with the approval of the Congress. Arthur W. Hummel, Sr., a renowned
Sinologist, was appointed as the first Chief of the Division. The collection
has since then grown to about 1,000,000 volumes. Along with Chinese language
materials, the Collection also houses several thousand volumes in Manchu,
Naxi and other minority languages.
The Collection covers all subject areas, with its strength in
the humanities and social sciences, among them classical Chinese
literature, archival materials of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
and the Republican period (1911-1949), and Chinese medicine. It
owns about 4,000 local and regional gazetteers from the Ming and
Qing dynasties, as well as those published since the 1980s, and
is especially strong on Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces.
A unique Chinese rare book collection of more than 2,000 titles
includes a Buddhist sutra printed in 975 A.D., the oldest printed
specimen in the Library of Congress, and about 1,500 imprints of
the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The Collection also owns 41 of the
surviving volumes, the largest number outside of China, of Yongle
da dian [Great Encyclopedia of the Ming Emperor Yongle], the earliest
and largest encyclopedia in China. Chinese publications can also
be found in other Library collections, with Chinese law materials
in the Law Library and Chinese maps, including rare ones, as part
of Arthur W. Hummel collection in the Geography and Map Division
Since 2000, the Chinese Collection has focused on collecting from
Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas areas, both in
depth and breadth, contemporary publications of the People’s
Republic of China. In 2001, with a generous grant of $500,000 from
the Luce Foundation which enable the Library to undertake a 3-year
collection development pilot project. With three teams traveled
to six regions of PRC, and methodically collected materials with
high research value, it has expanded its collection scope to encompass
all aspects of contemporary China, such as economy, business, finance,
law, science and technology, social studies, environment, Western
Region development, international relations, Communist Party history,
American studies in China, military affairs and national defense,
and minority affairs.
Today, LC’s contemporary China collection has been developed
to have unparalleled depth and breadth on all aspects of contemporary
China studies from areas that include Mainland China, Taiwan, and
major overseas areas. It consists of 995,000 monographic volumes,
14,850 serial titles of which 4,978 are active titles, 20,000 rolls/sheets
of microfilm/microfiche that cover 800 entries of monographs, 500
periodicals, and over 200 newspapers, along with major
full-text electronic databases and resources made available
to the patrons of the Asian Division Reading Room. Currently, the
and has gained in stature as a national asset for the United States
well as one of the principal contemporary China collections in
In order to bring the history and content of this Collection to
the attention of the East Asian librarians and scholars worldwide,
Judy S. Lu, Head of Collection Services, Asian Division, Library
of Congress, who has worked in the field of contemporary China
studies for 20 some years, has written two articles on the subject
that appear in Journal of East Asian Libraries, no. 141 (February
2007), p.19-28 and American
Journal of Chinese Studies, v. 14, no. 1 (April 2007), p. 45-60.
Further history of the collection can be traced in The Development
of the Chinese Collection in the Library of Congress, by Shuzhao
Hu (Boulder, Colo: Westview, 1979. xvi, 259 p.) and Library of
Congress Asian Collections: An Illustrated Guide (Washington, D.C.:
Library of Congress, 2000) (http://www.loc.gov/rr/asian/guide).
The Mongolian Collection
consists of approximately 3,000 monographs, 160 serial titles,
over 2,000 microfiche, and 408 volumes of rare books. Since 1992
the Library’s New Delhi Field Office, through a bibliographic
representative in Ulaanbaatar, has been actively acquiring publications
from Mongolia, in both classical Mongolian script and Cyrillic.
Included in the rare book collection are 80 traditional Mongolian
books which were acquired in the early 20th c. The first of these
to arrive were two manuscripts and one xylograph donated by William
Woodville Rockhill, American scholar and diplomat, between 1893
and 1901. All three are Mongolian translations of famous Buddhist
sutras (sudur), which Rockhill acquired during his travels in
Mongolia at the turn of the century. Other early notable acquisitions
include over seventy works acquired by Berthold Laufer in 1917,
containing his brief handwritten notes, and two xylographs acquired
from the Krebs Collection of Linguistics. These 80 works have
been analyzed and indexed in an article by David M. Farquhar, “A
Description of the Mongolian Manuscripts and Xylographs in Washington,
D.C.” Central Asiatic Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3,
1955. Included are 27 canonical works, 19 works on Buddhist ritual
and prayer, 11 works on biography and history, 5 on medicine,
2 on language, and an episode of the Central Asian Gesar (Geser)
epic. The collection contains many 18th c. xylographs of popular
sutras such as the Ocean of Parables (Uliger-un dalai), the Sutra
of the Golden Light (Altan gerel-tu) , the Collection of Sutras
(Gzungdui), the Mongolian translation of the Diamond Sutra, as
well as an elaborately illustrated manuscript of the Mongolian
translation of the Sutra of the Great Liberation.
The Mongolian rare collection also includes complete reprint
editions of both the Mongolian Kanjur and Tanjur, the Buddhist
canonical texts and their commentaries. The Mongolian Kanjur,
in 108 volumes, was published in New Delhi, 1973-1974 by Dr.
Lokesh Chandra. The edition was reproduced from the Imperial
Red block-print edition of 1720, which in turn had been prepared
based on the rare handwritten Ligdan Khan Kanjur produced in
the early 17th c.
During 1956-58, Professor Raghu Vira obtained a microfilm copy
of the extremely rare Urga Tanjur, kept in Ulaanbaatar. This
edition had been compiled and translated into Mongolian under
the direction of Lcang-skya Rol-pa’i rdo-rje in the mid-18th
c. A 226 volume set of photocopy enlargements taken from this
film was given to the Library by Dr. Lokesh Chandra, and is kept
in the rare book cage, along with the 8 volume catalog to the
set, published in 1982.
Catalog records for more recent materials can be found in the Library’s
online catalog using the LC/ALA
romanization tables for Mongolian in vertical script and in
Cyrillic Script. Many titles, including newspapers, are microfilmed or
microfiched in the New Delhi Office before being sent to the Asian Division.
Handlists for uncataloged materials are available in the division’s reading
The Tibetan Collection of the Library
of Congress began in 1901 with a presentation of 57 xylographs
and eight manuscripts acquired by William Woodville Rockhill, U.S.
Minister to China, during his travels in Mongolia and Tibet from
1888 to 1892. Between 1901 and 1928, approximately 920 original
xylographs and manuscripts were acquired for the Library, mostly
by Rockhill, Berthold Laufer (1874-1934), and Joseph Rock (1884-1962).
Currently, the collection is one of the largest in the West, consisting
of approximately 10,000 volumes, made up of hundreds of individual
The Library's Tibetan Collection is representative of the entire
corpus of Tibetan literature from the 8th century to the present:
Buddhist and Bon-po philosophical texts and their commentaries,
history, biography, traditional medicine, astrology, iconography,
musical notations, the collected works of over 200 major Tibetan
authors, bibliographies, traditional grammars and linguistic sciences,
modern science, social sciences and modern literature. Among the
Library's holdings are several rare xylograph redactions of the
Buddhist canonical literature, Kanjur and Tanjur, as well as a
complete set of the Bon-po Kanjur and Tanjur. The Derge Kanjur
was acquired by William Rockhill in 1901 for the Library, and the
Narthang Tanjur was acquired by Berthold Laufer in 1926. The complete
Coni redaction in 317 volumes acquired by Joseph Rock in 1928 is
one of only a few known to exist today.
The Library’s Naxi Collection
began in 1924, with the acquisition of 69 pictographic booklets
that Joseph Rock brought with him from China. At the time, this
was the largest amount of Naxi materials ever brought outside of
China. The collection continued to grow from 1924 to 1945 through
the acquisition of additional materials from Joseph Rock and other
collectors. It received 1,073 manuscripts in 1941, donated by Quentin
Roosevelt (1919-1948), grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Naxi Collection consists now of 3,342 or so manuscripts, both
originals and photostat copies of original manuscripts. These manuscripts,
written by Naxi Dongbas, shamanistic priests, document the unique
cosmology of the Naxi people, illustrate a range of Naxi myths
and legends including the story of the creation of the world, sacrifice
to the Serpent King and other principal gods, accounts of Naxi
warriors and other people of high social standing ascending to
the realm of deities, and love-suicide stories.
The Naxi (or Na-khi) people inhabit primarily the mountain valleys
at the foothills of the Himalayas. The Chinese government has officially
classified the neighboring Mosuo (Moso) people around the Lugu
Lake near Lijiang as part of the Naxi. The Naxi Kingdom traditionally
extended from northwestern Yunnan Province to southwestern Sichuan
Province. The Naxi and Moso are distinct not only in their matrilineal
kinship system, but also in their unique pictographic writing system.
The earliest efforts to translate these pictographic manuscripts
were made by Jacques Bacot (1877-1965), the French traveler and
author, in his work, Les Mo-so: ethnographie des Mo-so, leurs religion,
leur langue et leur écriture. (Leiden, 1913). Joseph Rock
was the first American who studied and interpreted Naxi writings.
His first article on the subject was published in National Geographic
magazine in 1924. During his 24 years in China Rock amassed a collection
of some 7,500 manuscripts, most of which were sold later to libraries
and collections in the West.
A digital database, entitled Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection
is available on the Library’s website. (http://international.loc.gov/intldl/naxihtml/naxihome.html)
Other Collections, Papers, and Presentations:
Other notable collections in the custody of the Chinese/Mongolian
NOTE: The following papers and presentations
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Confucianism in Books (PDF - 5 MB)
Confucianism and the Modern World: A Catalog of Selected Exhibits (PDF - 257 KB)
- NEW Christianity in China (PDF - 80 MB)