||101 Independence Avenue SE
Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ150
Washington, DC 20540-4821
||Division office: (202) 707-5420
Chinese Section: (202) 707-5423
Japanese Section: (202) 707-5430
Korean Section: (202) 707-5424
Southern Asia Section: (202) 707-5600
|| call appropriate section for reference assistance
|Internet Catalog Address:
|Hours of Service:
||8:30 a.m.--5:00 p.m.
|Open to the public:
The primary mission of the Library of Congress is to serve Members
of Congress and thereafter, the needs of the government, other libraries,
and members of the public, universities, and learned societies.
A Library of Congress Reader Registration Card is required to
use the reading room for the Asian Division. To obtain a registration
card, applicants must be 18 years of age or older and present photo
identification bearing a verifiable permanent address. The cards
are issued without charge in Room G40 of the Jefferson Building.
Enter on the Second Street side of the Jefferson Building to locate
Photocopying can be done by researchers with coin or debit card.
The Library of Congress' Photoduplication Services can provide a
wide range of reproductions of the Library's collections, such as
single page photocopies, microforms, or color slides. The ability
of the Library to furnish reproductions is subject to copyright
and other restrictions. Photoduplication Services is open 9:00 a.m.
to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. Further information on products
and services can be obtained by contacting Photoduplication Services,
Public Services Section, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4570.
Telephone: (202) 707-5640. Fax: (202) 707-1771. TTY: (202) 855-1234.
The Library of Congress is an interlibrary loan source of material
not readily available through local, state, or regional libraries.
Requests are accepted from recognized libraries that are listed
in standard directories or are affiliated with networks and that
make their own material available on interlibrary loan. Certain
rare, brittle, and other materials are not available for loan.
Return to top of page.
- Reference Policy:
- Reference assistance for researchers using materials in Asian
vernacular is provided by the area sections of the Asian Division.
Written enquiries from qualified researchers wishing to utilize
the Asian Division's resources should be directed to the address
above. Due to limited staff, the Division is not able to undertake
extensive telephone reference; researchers with questions about
reading room hours and policies can telephone the numbers given
- Borrowing Privileges:
- Not a lending institution.
- OCLC, RLIN. The majority of the division's non-book materials
are either listed only in catalogs on site, or are uncataloged.
OCLC and RLIN searching is not available to the public in this
- Background Note:
- The first Asian language volumes were first added to the Library's
collections in 1869. The collection now consists of approximately
1.6 million volumes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese,
Hindi, and other languages from south, southeast, and east Asia.
It is the largest collection of materials in Asian vernacular
languages outside of Asia. Each area section maintains a reference
collection of materials both in the vernacular and in Western
languages. The materials described below are a sample of the religion-related
materials in the Asian language collections. An estimate of the
total amount of religion-related material in the collection is
not possible. Consultation with reference specialists in the appropriate
section of the Asian Division is necessary to locate specific
- Books and monographs:
- It is not possible to provide exact figures for materials on
religion in Asian languages at the Library of Congress. The Library's
holdings of this type of material are extensive, with particular
emphases on Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Hinduism, including
sacred texts in the vernacular, commentaries on these texts, and
secondary sources. Highlights of the religion-related materials
of the Asian Division's monograph collections are listed below:
Chinese Section--As of October 1993, there were approximately
11,340 titles on religion and philosophy (LC classification B-BX)
in the Chinese language collections listed in the computer catalog,
with additional materials listed in card catalogs in the Asian
Division and the Main Reading Room. Information about Chinese
religion is also available in the Chinese Section's extensive
holdings of ts'ung-shu (collectanea) and fang-chih
(local histories). The Chinese Section's collection of
rare books and manuscripts includes Buddhist sutras from the Sung
and YŁan periods (960-1368 A.D.). The Manchu and Mongolian Collections
also contain works on Buddhism, philosophy, and the Confucian
classics. These are mostly undated but some bear imprint dates
from the 17th and 18th centuries. The William Gamble Collection
contains Chinese translations of 19th-century Christian tracts
Japanese Section--The Japanese collections contain approximately
5,800 titles on Buddhism, as well as materials on other religions
scattered throughout the collection. Among the Japanese section's
rare book materials is the Hyakumanto dharani,
a collection of Buddhist scrolls from the eighth century A.D.,
which is one of the oldest extant examples of printing in the
world. The Kan'ichi Asakawa Collection includes materials on
Japanese Buddhist sects.
Southern Asia Section--The Tibetan collection contains comprehensive
holdings of Buddhist canonical literature (Kanjur and Tanjur)
and commentaries dating from the eighth century A.D. to the
present, including a large selection of printed xylographs.
Among these materials are translations from the original Sanskrit
of Buddhist texts which might otherwise have been lost. The
contemporary materials include a collection of 340 xylographs
from Tibetan monastic printeries; these materials were acquired
in 1990. A collection of Malay early printed works in
jawi script (Arabic script adapted to the Malay phonetic
system) contains books and tracts from 19th-century Christian
missionary presses, and includes books of the Bible and other
devotional materials. The William Woodville Rockhill Collection
consists of 57 volumes of Buddhist writings, including the Tibetan
Tripitaka and various sutras.
Most materials acquired from 1958 to the present are listed
in LOCIS, the Library of Congress computer catalog. Asian language
materials acquired from 1958 to the end of 1980 can be found
in the main card catalog (in the Main Reading Room, LJ100 in
the Jefferson Building). The Far Eastern Languages Catalog for
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials lists works acquired
from 1958 to 1984. The Chinese and Korean Sections have separate
catalogs of pre-1958 materials; the Japanese Section's pre-1958
listings, as well materials in South Asian languages, should
be available in either the card or the computer catalogs. Many
of the special collections described above have inventories
or shelflists; consultation with reference staff in the appropriate
section is necessary to find specific materials.
- Periodicals and newspapers:
- An estimate of the amount of religion-related material in the
Asian vernacular periodical collection, which is the largest of
its kind outside of Asia, is not possible. Assistance of reference
staff in the appropriate section is necessary to find relevant
See above under "Books and Monographs" for information on
catalogs. Information on serial holdings in Chinese, Japanese,
and Korean languages is maintained by the appropriate section.
- Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
- Chinese Section--The Tun-huang manuscripts collection consists
of Chinese Buddhist manuscripts from the T'ang period (618-906
A.D.). The Chinese Section also has an 11th-century Buddhist scroll
of the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra. The Moso Collection
of some 3,000 volumes includes pictographic manuscripts on religious
practices and shamanism from a tribe in Yunnan province.
Southern Asia Section--The Albrecht Weber collection, acquired
in 1904, contains 40 volumes of manuscript transcriptions of
Sanskrit texts, the originals of which are no longer extant.
- Japanese Section--A large collection of Japanese government
documents and censored publications on microfilm includes about
10 titles on Buddhism; about 50 titles on Japanese Christianity,
Catholicism, missions, sermons, and the Bible; about 30 titles
on Shinto and emperor worship; about 10 titles on Japanese religion
in general; and one work in praise of the emperor from Japanese
Zionists. Southern Asia Section--The "Crosby Fragments" of Buddhist
Sanskrit texts, originally believed destroyed ca. 1000 A.D., are
available for study in microform.
- Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
- The William Gamble Collection contains about 30 19th-century
photographs of missionaries and other subjects.
Buddhism; Buddhism--Sacred books; Confucianism; Hinduism; Islam; Missions
and missionaries--Asia; Shamanism; Shinto; Sutras; Tanjur--Cone edition;
Tantrism; Taoism; Tibetan Buddhism; Tibetan Buddhist art and iconography;
Tibetan literature; Tun-huang manuscripts
Studies [online]. Available HTTP. URL http://www.loc.gov/acq/devpol/colloverviews/chinese.html.
Crouch, Archie R., et al. Christianity in China: A Scholars'
Guide to Resources in the Libraries and Archives of the United States.
Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1989. Pp. 72-73.
Studies [online]. Available HTTP. URL http://www.loc.gov/acq/devpol/colloverviews/japanese.html.
Studies [online]. Available HTTP. URL http://www.loc.gov/acq/devpol/colloverviews/korean.html.
Lee, Thomas H., comp. A Guide to East Asian Collections
in North America. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Library of Congress. Chinese Collections in the Library
of Congress: Excerpts from the Annual Report(s) of the Librarian
of Congress, 1898-1971. Comp. by Ping-kuen Yu. Washington,
DC: Center for Chinese Research Materials, Association of Research
Library of Congress. Far Eastern Languages Catalog.
22 v. Detroit, MI: G.K. Hall, 1972.
Library of Congress. Japanese Government Documents and Censored
Publications: A Checklist of the Microfilm Collections. Comp.
by Yoshiko Yoshimura. Washington, DC: The Library, 1992.
Library of Congress. Special Collections in the Library
of Congress: A Selective Guide. Comp. Annette Melville. Washington
DC: The Library, 1980.
Rony, A. Konar. "Malay Manuscripts and Early Printed Books at
the Library of Congress." Indonesia (1991): pp. 123-134.
Asia Studies [online]. Available HTTP. URL http://www.loc.gov/acq/devpol/colloverviews/south-asia.html.
Studies [online]. Available HTTP. URL http://www.loc.gov/acq/devpol/colloverviews/tibetan.html.