Oriental Manuscripts of the Library of the University of St Andrews

Scope and Content

The manuscripts are very varied in their physical form and contents, ranging from illuminated volumes, individual letters, tables and rolls to carved stones. They include spiritual and devotional works, poetry and stories, letters, legal treatises, literary and geographical texts. The manuscripts include items written in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and Burmese. There are also greek ostraca and Assyrian cylinder seals, although the authenticy of the latter has been contested.

Administrative / Biographical History

The collection of oriental manuscripts has been accumulating in the library for many years. Each item has its own history which is recorded in the hand list for the collection.


Accession order.

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project.

Other Finding Aids

Handlist available in the Reading Room. The early items in the series were catalogued in the 1950s but later additions are only partially listed. Some have been integrated into the library of congress sequence of manuscripts. The text of a catalogue of the earliest accessions compiled in the 1950s by DM Dunlop may also be consulted.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

The manuscripts have a varied provenance, some having been bought by the library, some being transferred to library custody among the libraries of academics and some having been gifted to the University. A notable example of the latter is a copy of the Qu'ran, written in 1441, which came from the library of Tippo Sultan (1749-99) and which was presented to the University of St Andrews in 1806 by the East India Company.

Related Material

GB 227 MS (O) 1-13 Oriental manuscripts series two.GB 227 MS (O) 1-13 Oriental manuscripts series two.GB 227 Library of Congress collection oriental mss