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Art and Architecture: Asia

The Sackler Library is the premier research library for the study of art and architecture at the University of Oxford. It incorporates the libraries formerly housed at the History of Art Department and the Ashmolean Museum.

Key resources

Library catalogues

SOLO Oxford's union catalogue for the holdings of university, departmental and college libraries as well as e-resources available to Oxford researchers. NOTE: SOLO does not include all Chinese-language titles.

Allegro Chinese-language publications can also be searched on Allegro. (Titles may also be searched by isbn.)

COPAC Union catalogue for the holdings of UK university libraries.

WorldCat Massive union catalogue of countless libraries worldwide. Useful for finding books and archival materials beyond Oxford.


OxLIP+ Access to online resources and databases in all subjects.

Oxford e-books

Eastern Art Online--Books (Ashmolean Museum)
Digitised versions of the Eastern Art Department's print catalogues.

Oxford books

Oxford libraries

Materials relating to the study of the art & archaeology of Asia are collected primarily in support of the research & teaching activities of Oxford museum curators and faculty.

Principal Asian geographic areas of collecting

  • China
  • India
  • Japan

Other Asian geographic areas collected

  • Central Asia
  • Inner Asia
  • Korea
  • South Asia
  • South East Asia
  • Tibet

Library collections

Major collection for the art & archaeology of Asia

  • Sackler Library
    Holdings on Asian art & archaeology are principally located in the Sackler's Eastern Art collection (Floor 3).
    Older materials are an amalgam of collections from the Ashmolean Museum's Eastern Art Department, the Bodleian Library & Oriental Institute Library. These are shelved in the "Old Classification Sequence".
    More recently-acquired materials are purchased direct by the Sackler or are selected from the Copyright Receipt Office intake of legal deposit publications. These are shelved in the Library of Congress Classification Sequence.
    Works are collected in all relevant languages, in particular: English & other Western European languages, Chinese, Japanese and, to a lesser extent, Korean.

Other significant library collections

Other guides to research resources

Arts of China Consortium (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) Collects information about lectures/symposia/conferences; grants/fellowships; positions available; graduate programmes in Asian art; and links to web pages designed to facilitate research and teaching.

English Resource Guide for Japanese Studies and Humanities in Japan: Arts and Crafts (Inter-University Research Institute Corporation: National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan)

Heidelberg University, Institut für Sinologie/Institute of Chinese Studies
Major centre for the study of China (and also East Asia). Important library collections.
Connect HERE to the East Asian Library.

Online catalogues, & citation, full-text & image databases

Bibliography (text-based information)

  • Art Full Text (including Art Abstracts)
    Covers publications 1984 – present. Abstracts available from 1994. Full text coverage varies with journal title. Wide-ranging index to Western-language journal articles, book reviews and images in mainstream archaeology, architecture, conservation and  "fine" and "decorative" arts periodicals. All geographical areas and all periods (ancient – contemporary).
  • ArtBibliographies Modern
    Covers publications 1974 – present. Abstracts also available. Index to Western-language journal articles, essays, books, exhibition catalogues and dissertations on modern art and photography. All geographical areas.
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)
    Index to Western-language monographs, articles and book chapters on all parts of Asia and in all disciplines. Covers publications 1971 - present.
  • China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database
    Comprises the China Academic Journals and China Core Newspapers full-text databases. Mostly Chinese-language materials with some in English. Includes dissertations from many Chinese universities.
  • China Online Journals (COJ) in Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences
    Complements China Academic Journals (in China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database -- see above link) as the selection includes titles not found in CAJ.
  • Francis (Pascal-Francis) (FREE ACCESS)
    The Francis database is the e-version of the former hard copy publication, Bulletin Signaletique. International humanities and social sciences index to publications in western languages, including those on art and archaeology of Asia and the Islamic world. Now amalgamated with the related database, Pascal.
  • Oxford-Grove Dictionary of Art (Oxford Art Online)
    Full-text extended essays (and bibliographies) on most aspects of the art world. Frequent updates. All geographical areas and all periods.


  • JAANUS (Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System) (Compiled by Dr. Mary Neighbour Parent)
    On-line dictionary of Japanese architectural and art historical terminology. Extremely thorough definitions and descriptions of each term. Searching using original character or transliterated text is possible.
  • Oxford Chinese Dictionary Online
    Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary, featuring over 220,000 words, phrases, and translations from the Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary (3rd edition), plus tools and resources. 


  • Archivision NOTE: LOGIN & PASSWORD BOX IS FOR ADMINISTRATORS ONLY. Oxford University access is automatic from within the University domain.
    100,000 approx. high quality images covering architecture, urban design, archaeological sites, landscapes, gardens, and works of art in public places. All geographical areas and all periods.
  • ARTstor NOTE: You may be asked to confirm this as a Trusted Site. Click the  "YES" button several times to confirm access.
    Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Hisitory of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s Western Manuscripts and Incunabula collection. All periods, all geographic areas.
  • Bridgeman Education NOTE: LOGIN & PASSWORD BOX NOT NECESSARY. Oxford University access is automatic from within the University domain.
  • 300,000+ images of objects from museums, galleries and private collections, as well as buildings and monuments. Images cover visual culture worldwide, from pre-History to the present day. Media covered include photography, fine art, engravings, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, artefacts and applied arts. It addresses the interests of such disciplines as art, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, & ethnography, history, science & medicine. All periods, all geographic areas.
  • Eastern Art Online (Ashmolean Museum)
    Online access to extremely high quality images of objects in the Ashmolean Museum's Eastern Art Department collections.
  • Hoover Institution Political Poster Database (Stanford University)
    Images of the Hoover Institution’s posters collection assembled from around the world. Most of the posters convey a clearly political message, but others (e.g. those promoting tourism) are also included.
  • Japanese Historical Maps (University of California, Berkeley)
    1100+ high-resolution images of maps and books from Berkeley's East Asian Art Library.
  • Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center (US)
    Access to 2 million+ museum, archive, library and research holdings across the Smithsonian's various sub-entities. Includes materials (publications and images) relating to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington, DC).
  • VADS (Visual Arts Data Service)
    Union collection of UK-based image collections (although not all the objects are British). Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives. Periods covered: Medieval – Modern.