Oriental manuscripts and prints

When the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm founded the library in 1661, Oriental manuscripts and prints were already part of the initial collection. The Oriental Department was established as an independent department in 1919. It systematically acquires print and electronic resources from and on the following regions: the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and Africa. In addition, the Oriental Department is responsible for the fields of Judaism and Eastern Christianity.

Consisting of 42,000 manuscripts and block prints, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (SBB) holds the largest collection of Asia’s and Africa’s written cultural heritage in the German-speaking area. The holdings are further enhanced by 40,000 text fragments from the Silk Route (Turfan Collection) which BBAW deposited with SBB. The collections are supplemented by a large number of manuscript reproductions, including 180,000 filmed manuscripts from Nepal that are particularly noteworthy.

The Oriental department is the key research partner for International Islamic and Arabic Studies. In cooperation with project partners, the DFG-project “Orient-Digital” develops the Oriental manuscript portal ”Qalamos: Connecting Manuscript Traditions.“