The University of Melbourne’s Middle Eastern Manuscript Collection was established as a research and teaching tool in the 1960’s by Professor Emeritus John Bowman, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Melbourne. The core of the Middle Eastern Studies Collection was given to the University of Melbourne Library in 1972 by the then Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Arabic and Persian manuscripts are strongly represented in the collection, but there are also several Syriac, Urdu, Ethiopic, Sanskrit and Turkish texts. It included more than 100 original manuscripts housed from that time onwards in the Special Collections. Over time this has grown to 183 manuscripts, many of which are beautiful works of art with interesting calligraphy and decoration.
The manuscripts include Qur’ans and related texts, books of poetry, astrology, grammar, mathematics, logic dictionaries, prayer books, biographies and books of sayings.
Access and Availability
Material may be accessed through the Cultural Collections Reading Room in the Baillieu Library. Requests for material can be made online prior to visiting the reading room. To request material, please register and order here.