Universität Bonn

Department of Asian and Islamic Art History


Information on the other IOA libraries can be found under this link

The library of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History contains about 14,789 monographs and 4307 journal volumes (as of 31.12.2019). The retroconversion of the old holdings, which began in 2011, has been completed. The holdings of printed books, CDs and DVDs of the years of publication from 1567 onwards are fully accessible via the main catalogue of the ULB (OPAC) and the journal volumes via the Zeitschriftendatenbank (ZDB). To make working with our holdings easier, we have summarized the most important references on this page. For more detailed information, the student assistants are available during regular opening hours.

The library of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History was founded in 1967 by Heinrich Lützeler (1902-1988) as a teaching and research library of the Research Centre for Oriental Art History, which was newly established at the University of Bonn at that time. The library's collection focuses on visual arts, art history, archaeology and religion of Near, South, Southeast and East Asia. In addition to the annual acquisitions, the collection has been expanded from the beginning by extensive donations and bequests as well as by donations from other libraries of the university. One of the foundations is the holdings of non-European art and archaeology donated by the library of the Department of Art History at Bonn University.

On 27.11.1967 "The Koran illuminated" was the first book to be inventoried. 

A first extensive historical book inventory with the main focus on "early travelogues from the Near East and South Asia" as well as "Islamic Art" and "Near Eastern Archaeology" came into the library in 1999 through the book estate of Kurt and Hanna Erdmann. By means of targeted purchases as well as by taking over subject-specific parts of the holdings of other libraries and private donations, the library could be expanded to its current stock in the following years.With the acquisition of the "Bibliothek Gritli von Mitterwallner", which comprises several thousand volumes and was compiled from the middle of the 20th century onwards, the largest number of books of a single provenance to date came into the departmental library in 2010. The cataloguing and integration of this library donation into the union database of the HBZ via Aleph and the local database of the ULB via SISIS will be continued. SISIS is used for a detailed indexing of all provenances. Further information on bequests and donations including detailed information on individual provenances can be found here.2


The library collection is classified according to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and besides this classification system, it is divided into the following main and secondary locations:

  • main location 010 (listing 001-999, CD 001-999, DVD 001-999 
  • Rara 011 (for conservation reasons chronological list by year of printing or period of origin, then 001-999; prints of the years of publication 1567-1850, handpress prints, books and portfolios with original graphics, binding art, manuscripts, other unique specimens and rare prints published after 1850) 
  • Large formats/Folio 012 (installation 001-999, Large 4°, Folio, 35-45 cm)
  • Pianarosa - Library 013 (arranged according to own systematics, works on Jainism)
  • lexicons / reference works 014 (list 001-999)
  • Large folio/Impeial folio 015 (lying 001-999, 45-55, >55 cm)
  • magazines (list Z 001-Z 999)

The largest part of the library's historical book holdings came into the library with the estate of Kurt (1901-1964) and Hanna Erdmann (ca. 1920-1995). Individual books, however, also come from other, partly important private libraries such as those of Francis Hutcheson (1694-1747), Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), Heinrich Meyer (1760-1832), Johann Caspar Schinz (1797-1832), Hermann Schaaffhausen (1816-1893), Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1875), Alfred Philippson (1864-1953), Max Jakob Friedländer (1867-1958), Friedrich Maximilian Trautz (1877-1952), Gritli von Mitterwallner (1925-2012) and the BLIOTH. DUC.ALTENBURG (Herzoglichen Bibliothek Altenburg, Residenzschloss) and the Freiherrlich von Romberg'sche Bibliothek in Buldern b. Koesfeld.

So far, the only volume of the historical book stock of the-AIK library which is digital available3, is a volume on Indian architecture with the provenance Hermann Schaaffhausen, the scientific discoverer of the "Neanderthal man".  

The historical stock of the library is divided formally and chronologically as of 31.12.2019 as follows: 

Manuscripts (Ms.) = 1 work in 1 volume (Fragm., Persia around 1630)

1501-1600 = 2 works in 2 volumes (Fragm., 1 French, 1 Latin)

1601-1700 = 3 works in 3 volumes (1 French, 2 Latin)

1701-1800 = 19 works in 31 volumes

1801-1850 = 53 works in 124 volumes

Total: 78 works in 161 volumes

The book holdings of the publication years up to 1850 thus account for about 1.09% of the total holdings (excluding periodicals).

All media are catalogued under a common subject classification (DDC), which you can view here.54 Since the constellation system follows the subject classification, it allows free research on topics, art genres, countries and regions in the reference library. 
The AIK library's holdings of printed books, CDs and DVDs from the years of publication from 1567 onwards are recorded completely electronically and can be searched in the ULB's search portal bonnus5. The journal holdings of the IOA libraries can be found in the Zeitschriftendatenbank (ZDB6) (Sigel 5/141)
The Department of Asian and Islamic Art History offers guided tours, which are obligatory for all users. The guided tours include an introduction to research, lending and using the library. Tours usually take place during the first two to three weeks of the new semester and last between 20 and 30 minutes. For further information, please refer to the News section (Aktuelles) or the current notices.
User information is recorded the first time a book is borrowed. For this purpose, an identity card and student ID are required. Since the library of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History is a reference library, books can only be borrowed over the weekend (Fr 10 am - Mo 12 am).
Books that are in "Handapparat"  (location: secretary's office) can only be borrowed on Fridays from 15.30 hrs.
Books may be copied or scanned by users – with the exception of large-format and rare books – during regular opening hours. The same applies to any scripts provided. Please note that it is not possible to copy or scan in the department. Therefore please use the copiers and scanners of the ULB.
For further information please contact the student assistants during regular opening hours.
  1. Please handle the books with care. The books are property of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History and should be available for long-term use by all students in the best possible condition.
  2. Markings may not be made in any form (highlighter, ballpoint pen, pencil etc.)
  3. Please do not use sticky notes. Especially older books can be damaged by peeling them off. However, the insertion of slips of paper to mark the pages is permitted. These must be removed before returning the book.
  4. If a book is badly damaged (binding, loose pages etc.), please inform the student assistants.
  1. The library of the IOA Department of Asian and Islamic Art History is a reference library based on the principle of using books and journals in the library rooms.
  2. It is possible to borrow books and journals for a short period of time during the opening hours of the department from the auxiliary staff or library supervisors to make copies. These books and journals must be returned on the same day within the opening hours of the department.
  3. Due to the limited opening hours of the department, the possibility of borrowing books over the weekend, i.e. from Friday to Monday, is granted. Borrowing and returning books is done in the secretary's office. For each borrowed book a borrowing slip must be filled out. An extension of the loan period beyond the weekend is only possible once up to a maximum of 3 weeks in the case of preparation for a BA or MA thesis.
  4. Volumes of periodicals, reference works and encyclopaedias, large formats, portfolios and loose-leaf collections, rare books and volumes whose poor external condition does not permit borrowing. They can be inspected on site.
  5. The loan periods are to be observed by all users of the library. Exceeding the loan period twice, i.e. the late return of borrowed books, will result in the user being excluded from borrowing for a period of six months. In case of five times late return, the right to borrow media expires completely.
  6. Only members of the University of Bonn are allowed to borrow books. Exceptions are only possible if they have been approved by the head of department.
  • ArchNet
    Image Database and Bibliography on Islamic Architecture
  • arkusBiD
    arkuBiD is an archaeological and art historical image database for the management of digital images for use in teaching in humanities subjects, especially in archaeology and art history
  • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology - The Creswell Archive
    Image Database on Islamic Architecture
  • Bilddatenbank der französischen Reunion des Musée Nationaux
    including the material of the Musée Guimet in Paris with a large collection of Southeast Asian, but also South, East and Central Asian art objects. Almost throughout good colour pictures.
  • Bilddatenbank des L.A.County Museum of Art
    with a large collection of South and Southeast Asian works of art; mostly good, but not large format pictures
  • Bilddatenbank der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    in Berlin; including the digitized holdings of the Museum of Asian Art (formerly the Museum of Indian and East Asian Art).
  • British Library
    Digital Access to Persian Manuscripts
  • Columbia Bilderdatenbank
    database of Japanese art from Columbia University
  • HeidlCON
    An extensive image database of the Heidelberg University Library.
  • Islamic Painted Page
    A huge database of references for Persian paintings, Ottoman paintings, Arab paintings and Mughal paintings
  • Kyoto National Museum
    Selection of the best objects of the museum from East Asian. Rather small-format photographs of the objects.
  • National Palace Museum
    viewable in several languages, large selection of objects from different areas of the Palace Museum, self-adjustable zoom. In addition, various subject areas and virtual 3-D representations.
  • prometheus
    the distributed digital image archive for research and teaching (access via the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhems-Universität Bonn)
  • The British Museum
    Image database of the British Museum with collections of Asian and Islamic art
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art
    Large image database of the British Museum with collections of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian art and textiles
  • Tokyo National Museum
    a representative selection of pictures and objects from the entire East Asian region. Good image quality and some detail shots
  • University of Nagasaki Library
    digitized photographs from the late 19th or early 20th century of Japan. The photographs are of very good quality and can be viewed in extremely high resolution.
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