The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Library Collection

In the tradition of the Royal Asiatic Society in London and its other branches, the Hong Kong branch has established a collection of books within its field of interest and added to it steadily over the years by purchase, gift and exchange.  Today, our branch has a splendid library which includes a large number of valuable books housed in the Special Collections of the Hong Kong Central Library. 

The Collection

The collection comprises more than 8,000 titles of books, periodicals, pamphlets, photograph albums, microforms, audiovisual materials and CD-ROMS relating to the cultures of China and East Asia.

There are several contemporary works relating to Britain's first embassy to China in 1793-94 as well as some important books recounting the establishment of British Hong Kong in 1840-42.  The collection has been added to by absorbing the library of the old Hong Kong Club, the South China Morning Post's pre-war library and from Madam du Breuil, a former resident of Peking who served briefly on our Council before her death in the 1960s.  Other outstanding additions include five albums from F.A. Nixon containing photographs of his collection of Nestorian Crosses, over 400 volumes from the library of the late Mr. Arnold Graham and a superb copy of a two-volume reproduction of a series of nineteenth century Chinese woodcuts from Shanghai.

In 2006 the Carl Smith Collection of some 140,000 index cards, a distillation of information gleaned from primary sources during his fifty years of research, was gifted to the Society.  

Access to the Collection

The Library Collection is on long term loan to the Central Library, 66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

Members of the RASHK are welcome to use the Library Collection.  To borrow books, it is necessary to produce your membership card at the 8th floor before accessing the Special Collections on the 7th floor. For security and better preservation of rare and valuable materials, pre-1900 (and selected rare post 1900 materials) are for in-house use only.  The Collection is also open to the academic community, students and the general public for consultation.  Users must observe the library regulations governing the Collection.  If you have any queries concerning the Collection please contact Ms. Vivian So, Hon. Librarian at librarian@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk

To access the on-line RASHK Library Catalogue (within the Central Library's Special Collections), click the links below:
English interface
Chinese interface


How to search

To search for a book:

1. Limit the Collection to “Royal Asiatic Society

2. Choose “Book” format 

3. Enter the known keywords in “Title” or/and “Author” fields

4. Press the “Search” button


To browse a book:

1. Limit the Collection to “Royal Asiatic Society

2. Choose “Book” format

3. Press the “Search” button