Chinese Collections

General Collections


The Library’s Chinese archaeology collection is recognized as one of the best in North America. The collection includes the series Kao gu xue zhuan kan (Special Series of Archaeology), covering major archaeological discoveries in China and has been published for decades.

Buddhism and Tibetan Studies

The Buddhism collection in Chinese started in the Library’s early years. The Library currently holds more than ten thousand titles of Buddhist materials, including Buddhist classics and research monographs but excluding materials on Buddhist art.


The centerpiece of the collection is several major series of classics such as the Siku series. In recent years, full-text searchable online databases have further enhanced this collection. Expanding its holdings of Chinese modern and contemporary literature in all forms, including poetry, prose, fictions, theater plays, and screenplays, is among the library’s current priorities. The library has a notable Chinese collection of complete or selected works by individual authors, collected works, and related memoirs and biographies. The library also subscribes to hundreds of periodicals of Chinese literature and literary criticism, and collects numerous reprint journals. In recent years acquisitions of electronic books and journals provide additional resources, especially to scholars researching modern and contemporary Chinese literature.

History and Yearbooks

Pre-modern Chinese history has been a traditional strength of the library’s collection. After decades of efforts, the library has also strengthened its holdings of modern and contemporary Chinese history. The collection includes important primary and secondary sources of historical documents such as biographies, memoirs, diaries, archives, and statistics. The library has a sizable collection of Chinese local history materials and gazetteers. Particularly holdings of Chinese post-1949 local history expanded collected during the past ten years. The Library currently subscribes more than one thousand Chinese yearbook titles, including statistical yearbooks, and has many yearbooks published in earlier years that are difficult to acquire today.

Art and Art History

Library’s holdings cover a wide range of art forms especially classical architecture, traditional paintings, sculpture, and folk arts. In response to the educational needs of Chinese art and art history students, the library has also developed a collection of replicas and reproductions.

Historical Chinese Drama and Folkore

This collection started with a 1,662-volume set of Qing Menggu Che wang fu cang qu ben (the Collection of Chinese Dramas held in the Qing Mongolian Prince Che’s Residence), which contains thousands of Chinese historical dramas. It was greatly enhanced by the gift of Su wen xue cong kan (the Series of Folk Literature), which includes two sections of Chinese dramas and ballads preserved in the Institute of History and Philology in Taiwan. This collection has been further enhanced by an audiovisual collection of Chinese dramas and local operas on hundreds of DVDs.

Film and Television Series

In recent years the library has begun to develop a multimedia collection of Chinese films and selected television programs. Currently, this collection includes more than two thousand Chinese films in various genres including documentaries, underground films, and animation as well as mainstream releases.


Special Collections

The Han Yu-shan Collection

The collection at the East Asian Library was part of the private library of the late Professor Han Yu-shan (1899-1983), which contains hundreds of original palace examination and academy examination papers from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

The Collection of Chinese Rare Books

The Library holds over 250 titles of Chinese rare books produced before 1796.

The Tom Leung Archival Collection

Given by Louise Leung Larson and Jane Leung Larson, this archival collection contains private letters of the Chinese Royal Society led by Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao, the reformers of the late Qing period. Tom Leung, the donors’ ancestor, was one of Kang Youwei’s students and a leader of the Royal Society in Los Angeles.

Archives of Chinese Democracy Movement

This collection includes original materials relating to democracy movement in 1989, including documents, transcribed radio broadcasts, local newspaper and journal articles, posters, communications, and assorted ephemeral sources, in Chinese and in English.

Statistical Data of China’s Third Census in 1982

The East Asian Library is the only one in North America that owns the complete 1982 census data.


New Acquisition Highlights

With the support of the Library administration, the East Asian Library recently made a special one-time opportunity purchase of Chinese books in the fields of Chinese archaeology, classics and literature, history, art and art history, philosophy and religions. This opportunity purchase will certainly fill some collection gaps in these fields. The following is list of a few major titles of the purchase. A complete list of the purchase (about 785 titles) is available here.