SOAS University of London

SOAS Library

History of Art & Archaeology

  • Context
  • Collection
  • Coverage
  • E-Resources
  • Future

Context

1. The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology is internationally unique in its broad coverage of the visual arts, architecture and material culture of Asia and Africa. The department is confident that no other British, European or American university can provide the range of teaching and research interests offered for the study of Asian and African art.

The Department offers undergraduate, MA, PhD and Diploma programmes.

The Department has 14 FTE academic staff, 185 FTE students, including 108 undergraduates, 51.5 taught postgraduates and 26 research students.

For more information see:

2. Centre

2.1 Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
  • The Institute aims to promote the study of the material and visual cultures of the Japanese archipelago, and in doing so act as a catalyst for international research in the field. It intends to further its mission by engaging international scholars, post-graduate students and staff in a collaborative and active research network and also by disseminating the results of these researchers through special projects, symposia, publications and various other media.
  • For more information see Sainsbury Institute

Collection

3. History

  • The establishment of a separate collection for Art and Archaeology in the Library took place in 1957 when the Asian collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art Library, which comprised books, photographs, slides and other materials, was transferred to the School.  
  • The Library has actively built up the collection on art and archaeology relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East within its regional collections
  • The Library has supported course reading lists and selectively purchased material for teaching purposes

4. Languages  

  • English and some European language material on the Asian, African, Middle Eastern art and archaeology.
  • Non-European language material includes works in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew and other vernacular languages
  • For more details see the General Collection Development Policy

5. Classification

The collection is classified using a unique in-house classification scheme which was devised in order to arrange diverse collections according to regions. The collection also includes cross regional Buddhist Art and Archaeology under the classmark FDA and Christian and Byzantine Art under the classmark FV.

Art and Archaeology classification system according to regions is as follows:

  • FA~FAA : Art and Archaeology General
  • FB: Asia General
  • FC: East Asia (incl. Mongolia)
  • FDG: Russia and Central Asia
  • FF~FFX: China
  • FJ~FJX: Japan
  • FM~FMX: Korea
  • FN~FNX: Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • FO~FOX: South Asia
  • FR~FRT: Ancient Near and Middle East (pre-Islamic Period)
  • FS~FSX: Islamic and Near and Middle Eastern Art
  • FW: Jewish and Palestinian Art
  • FX~FXX:  Africa
  • FY~FYE: The Americas
  • FZA~FZX: General Museum Guides and Handbooks
  • Reference books are prefixed "Ref"
  • Large books are suffixed "L"
  • Extra large books are suffixed "Ex"
  • Elephant size books are suffixed "Elp" (closed access, request at Issue Desk)

6. Special Collections

  • Palace and Central Museums' Collection: Photographic archive of black and white photographs in the Chinese National Palace and Central Museums, Taiwan
  • Hunt collection: Photographs of Indian archaeological interest produced by E.H. Hunt, F.R.S. between 1917 and 1930
  • Lorimer Collection: 3 1/4" slides mainly of Hunza in Kashmir and Iran produced by Lt.-Col. David Lockhart Robertson Lorimer (1876-1962) in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Williams-Hunt Collection: Aerial photographs, mainly covered Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Singapore, acquired by Peter Williams-Hunt (1919-1953) during and after World War II and organised by Dr. Elizabeth Moore at SOAS
  • Chinese woodblock prints of New Year pictures, calendars, historical events, etc., 19th Century-20th Century
  • Japanese colour prints from the collections of Lord Harlech and Frederick Anderson
  • IAVRI Research Project Colour Slides: Photographic/Slide documentation of the Braj area India, produced by International Association of the Vrindaban Research Institute, 1976-1978.
  • Chinese rubbings, paper-cuts, etc

Coverage

Within the School, the Library supports the teaching and research needs of:
Teaching

The collection aims to collect materials to a teaching level for all courses taught within the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology and Regional and Departmental Centres. All students have access to, and borrowing rights, at Senate House Library.

Research

The collection aims to collect material to a research level for all the subject areas detailed in section 8 below:

8. Detailed Structure

The main subject areas of collecting for History of Art and Archaeology are detailed below (based on the Conspectus Level). For details on the Conspectus Level see Collection Development Policy

8.1 Africa
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Inscriptions and epigraphy
  • Architecture and gardens
  • Christian art [Byzantine art]
  • Islamic art
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
  • Ceramic arts
  • Art metalwork
  • Numismatics
  • Lacquer and art woodwork
  • Textile arts and costume
  • Other arts
  • General museum guides and handbooks
8.2 Americas
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Christian art [Byzantine art]
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
8.3 Central Asia
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Buddhist art
  • Islamic art
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
  • Numismatics
  • Jewellery
  • Rugs and carpets
8.4 China
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Inscriptions and epigraphy
  • Architecture and gardens
  • Buddhist art
  • Islamic art
  • Other religious arts
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
  • Ceramic arts
  • Art metalwork
  • Numismatics
  • Lacquer and art woodwork
  • Jewellery
  • Textile arts and costume
  • Other arts
  • General museum guides and handbooks
8.5 Japan and Korea
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Inscriptions and epigraphy
  • Architecture and gardens
  • Buddhist art
  • Islamic art
  • Other religious arts
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
  • Ceramic arts
  • Art metalwork
  • Numismatics
  • Lacquer and art woodwork
  • Jewellery
  • Textile arts and costume
  • Other arts
  • General museum guides and handbooks
8.6 Middle East
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Inscriptions and epigraphy
  • Architecture and gardens
  • Christian art [Byzantine art]
  • Islamic art
  • Jewish art
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
  • Ceramic arts
  • Art metalwork
  • Numismatics
  • Lacuqer and art woodwork
  • Jewellery
  • Textile arts and costume
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Other arts
8.7 South Asia and South East Asia
  • Art general and philosophy of arts
  • Archaeology general (theories, methods etc)
  • Civilisation (arts)
  • Inscriptions and epigraphy
  • Architecture and gardens
  • Buddhist art
  • Islamic art
  • Hindu art
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings and calligraphy (print making and prints)
    • Mughal paintings
  • Ceramic arts
  • Art metalwork
  • Numismatics
  • Lacquer and art woodwork
  • Textile arts and costume
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Other arts

E-Resources

9. Major Databases

General Databases
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Art Full Text and Abstracts
  • Arts and Humanities Citation Index
  • JSTOR
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies
  • Cambridge Journals Online
  • China Academic Journals 中国期刊全文数据库
  • EBSCOhost
  • Grove Art Online (Oxford Art Online)
  • IngentaConnect
  • ISI Web of Science/Knowledge
  • OCLC FirstSearch
  • Oxford Bibliographies Online - Buddhism, Hinduism and Islamic Studies
  • Oxford Reference Online
  • ProQuest
  • Project MUSE
  • Wiley InterScience
  • Zetoc
Image Databases
  • Bridgeman Education
  • ArtStor (via Senate House library)
Non-English Databases
  • Gujin Tushi Jicheng古今圖書集成 (in Chinese)
  • Gunsho Ruiju 群書類従 (in Japanese)
  • KISS (Korean Studies Information Service System) (in Korean)
  • e-Korean Studies (EKS) 한국학 데이터베이스(in Korean)

10. Online Subject Guide

For more information and online resources see the

For regional specific databases see Subject Statements

For other databases SOAS subscribes to see A-Z databases list

Future

11. Trends for the Future

Move towards more online full-text resources where possible and appropriate:

  • As the national collection for Asian, African and Middle Eastern studies the Library seeks to retain one print copy of selected scholarly titles and also provide electronic access to these materials (e-journals, databases, e-books &c.), where available.
  • For subjects of the theoretical, general or non-regional nature the electronic version (e-journals, databases, e-books &c.) is favoured