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Art and Architecture: Middle East & Islamic World

The Sackler Library is the premier research library for the study of art, architecture and archaeology at Oxford. It incorporates multiple libraries previously housed in separate locations around the University.

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Materials relating to the study of the art & archaeology of the Middle East and the Islamic world in general are collected broadly, and primarily in support of the research and teaching activities of Oxford museum curators and faculty.

Geographic areas collected:

  • Arabian Peninsula
  • The Caucasus
  • Central Asia
  • Mediterranean Basin
  • South East Asia
  • South Asia (Mughal period - C21st)

Library Collections

  • Sackler Library
    Holdings on the art & archaeology of the Middle East and the Islamic world are principally located in the Sackler's Eastern Art collection (Floor 3).
    NOTE: Materials on the art & archaeology of the pre-Islamic period (Ancient Near East & Egypt) are located on Floor 1.
    Older materials are an amalgam of collections from the Ashmolean Museum's Eastern Art Department, the Bodleian Library, and the 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 and, to a lesser extent, Arabic. All these materials may be found in the online catalogue, with Arabic-language items retrievable using transliteration. 

Other significant library collections

  • Balfour Library
    This library is attached to the Pitt Rivers Museum, and also functions as the teaching and research library of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. Its holdings on anthropology, ethnography and art history mostly cover cultural groups and geographical areas not addressed by the Sackler’s collections but the collections do include materials on (for example) Central Asia.
  • Oriental Institute Library
    Subjects collected (e.g. literature and history) complement the art & archaeology collections at the Sackler.
  • Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies
    The Library holds a substantial collection of materials on a comprehensive range of topics relating to Islam and the Islamic world.
  • Weston Library
    The Bodleian Library's South Asia collections include important holdings of Mughal manuscripts and miniatures. Research materials in support of the study of these items are collected at the Bodleian and/or the Sackler.

Online Catalogues, Citation & Full-text Databases