Collections and services

The Orient and eastern collections

Books and manuscripts in oriental languages, books on the Orient, and oriental images.

Orient and eastern collections: printed books and journals

Al-Sufi’s Book of Fixed Stars

Al-Sufi’s Book of Fixed Stars

The bulk of BnF’s collections of printed books and journals in oriental languages are found at the François Mitterrand Library (site François-Mitterrand).

They cover three geographical regions:

  • Asia
  • the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe 
  • the Near East and the Middle East
These collections include 20 or so languages spoken by more than half the world’s population: Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Russian, Slovakian, Czech, Tibetan, Turkish, and Vietnamese, as well as Finno-Ugric, Indian, and South Slavic languages. This vernacular heritage collection dates back to the Library’s earliest origins. 

For example, the Library holds some very old Russian printed materials, such as a Bible printed by Ivan Fedorov in 1581, works that belonged to Catherine II, and Arabic language pieces such as Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine, printed in Rome in 1593.

BnF purchases oriental language materials for the Research library in the disciplines in which it excels: history, philosophy, religion, book history, and languages and literature. It also acquires European language studies on so-called “oriental” civilizations and countries. 

The Reference library offers open-access books on the languages and literature of the three geographical regions considered as being “oriental”, in both original language and translated versions.

Original language materials are available for consultation in the Art and Literature Department.

Monday, July 28, 2014

See also


Where to consult the documents ?

Literature and Art Department

Ask a librarian

SINDBAD is a free virtual reference service providing document references and factual information. Ask a librarian (SINDBAD)