Chinese Rare Books

With over 9,600 items, Harvard-Yenching's rare book collection is one of the largest of its kind in the Western world.
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Harvard-Yenching Library

The collection is composed of:

  • 1,500 Song, Yuan, and Ming block-print books (including duplicates), and 188 of them cannot be found in any of the major libraries in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Japan
  • Roughly 1,500 manuscripts (including holographs)
  • Song, Yuan, and Ming encyclopedias (leishu), including Sancai tuhui 三才圖會, Shantang sikao 山堂肆考, and Tang leihan 唐類函
  • Nearly 2,600 gazetteers, including 720 rare editions printed from the Ming through the Qianlong period
  • Banned books and women’s writing