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Persian manuscript: Shahnamah by Firdawsi

Srilankan cave painting (Wilson archive)

Mongolian avalokitesvara

 The Trust's greatest asset is its library, a unique independent resource for research in the fields of the cultural heritage of ancient India, Iran, Central Asia, and the history of the Indo-Iranian languages. The Library comprises mainly the personal collections of Professor Sir Harold Bailey (Indo-Iranian studies and philology, Buddhist works in various languages, and Armenian and Caucasian studies); and of Professor Joan van Lohuizen (art and archaeology of South and South East Asia). It also includes smaller collections of Professor Charles Bawden (Mongolian studies), Ralph Pinder-Wilson (Islamic Art and Architecture and Afghanistan), Professor Gregory Possehl and Drs B. & F.R. Allchin (South Asian Archaeology) as well as recent acquisitions in the same fields. 

In addition to printed resources, the library also includes the photographic collections of  Penelope Chetwode (Betjeman), J. C. Harle, and J. van Lohuizen. These collections, together with those of the late Professor Howard Wilson, and Drs. Raymond and Bridget Allchin, are in the process of being digitised, catalogued and listed, with the intention of becoming fully available to researchers for consultation. A large part of the Howard Wilson archive is now searchable online - please go to Photo Archive link and click on 'Howard Wilson Collection'.

Further library resources include a small collection of oriental manuscripts, Sir Harold Bailey's working papers and correspondence,  Sir Harold and Professor R. E. Emmerick's photographic collections of Central and South Asian manuscripts, and an extensive set of individually catalogued offprints containing over 20,000 separate items. Additionally, the Trust holds a collection of Professor Van Lohuizen's working papers and other archival materials.

To search the library catalogue online, go to the Cambridge University Library catalogue, click "Search", then "Limits" and choose the location "Ancient India & Iran Trust". For all other inquiries contact the Librarian, tel. 01223-702095, e-mail

OPENING HOURS: The library is open Mon-Thurs, 9am-1pm, Fri 9.30am-1.30pm, afternoons by appointment only.  

As well as scholars and students, members of the public are welcome. If you wish to visit the library for the first time, please telephone either the Librarian on 01223 702095 or the Administrator on 01223 356841, to make an appointment.

You will be asked to bring identification and a letter of introduction (for members of the University of Cambridge, a University Library card will suffice), to complete and sign an application form stating that you abide by the rules of the library, to sign the visitors book on each visit and to take formal leave of the Librarian upon departure.

We also require visitors to leave their bags with the staff in the library office, and to leave books on the table when they are finished with them.