Fine Arts Library

Rübel Asiatic Research Collection


Rübel Fund book plate.

The Rübel Asiatic Research Collection (RARC) ranks as one of the leading collections for the study of Asian art and archaeology in the nation. It is comprised of approximately 50,000 volumes devoted to the history of Asian art, focusing on the art, architecture, and archaeology of China, Japan, Korea, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and India. Its holdings include books, periodicals, offprints of rare and important articles, maps, rubbings of inscriptions from stone monuments, facsimile reproductions of Chinese and Japanese scroll paintings, auction and exhibition catalogs. The collection is especially strong in the history of Chinese ritual bronzes, Buddhist arts, Chinese and Japanese painting, Japanese woodblock prints, and East Asian ceramics. Three-quarters of the collection is in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Material in Western languages may be found in the Rübel Collection as well as in Fine Arts Library collections.

The RARC was established in 1927 with the opening of the Fogg Art Museum. Langdon Warner, Class of 1903, donated the original volumes from his private collection, forming the basis of the RARC, to provide research materials for students of Asian arts. In 1932 this collection was strengthened by the establishment of a fund by C. Adrian Rübel, class of 1926—an enthusiastic collector and student of Asian art—to be used expressly for the purchase of books and photographs.

The Rübel Collection originally operated as the curatorial library of the Oriental Art Department of Harvard University. On July 1, 1978, it was integrated into the Fine Arts Library of Harvard College Library and its official name changed from the Rübel Asiatic Research Bureau to the Rübel Asiatic Research Collection.

All collection holdings are represented by records in the HOLLIS catalog and most East Asian language entries contain Asian characters as well as Romanized titles.

  • For further information about the Rübel Collection, please contact Nanni Deng, Asian Art Bibliographer.

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