Special collections of Uppsala University Library
Uppsala University Library can offer students and researchers very valuable and rare special collections. During the long history of the Library, large collections have been built up through donations, spoils of war, duty deliveries and purchases. The special collections are today considered as cultural heritage, which includes old prints, manuscripts, images, maps and musicalia. Thanks to requests for digital copies, more and more materials are being digitised and available online. On this page, a selection of interesting material from the Chinese and Japanese and collection will be presented. You can find these and more on the platform for digital collections and cultural heritage, Alvin.
DG 65 Sishu Wujing (Four books and five classics) has number 65 in the De la Gardie collection,
which was donated by Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie (1622-1686) in the 17th century.
The first chapters are lost. DG 65 contains the Analects of Confucius and the conversations of Mencius.
World Map from 1674 (Hangzhou) by Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), a Belgian Jesuit father.
Verbiest was employed as a teacher and an advisor to the Kangxi Emperor. The map is divided in
an Eastern and a Western hemisphere. There are also numerous explanatory texts to the map,
information on the natural resources, people and customs, missionary activity etc. in various
countries. Some texts are explanations to the illustrations on the map, showing animals unknown in
The map was donated to the library by Johan Gabriel Sparwenfeld (1655-1727) in 1702.
Sparwenfeld was an Orientalist and researcher in languages. He is also well known for the work
Jesuit prints in the University Library of Uppsala are from around 1660 and printed in Hangzhou.
There were five different prints in a big box and many leaves of each print. The box was found in the
Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala 1904 and the box was later transferred to Uppsala University
Library. The content is about Christianity and it was written to the Emperor.
Professor Paul Pelliot from École des Hautes Études and Collège de France, who visited the library in
1932, discovered these rare prints from Hangzhou. The leaves were probably brought to Sweden
by Johan Gabriel Sparwenfeld. Shelfmark : Litt. Kinesisk Fol.
Paul Pelliot has written about the prints in T’oung Pao, Vol. 29, Leiden 1932, pages 114-118.
Lei, Chang Principles of Medicine, 2.ed. 1621-1627 (Waller collection) has beautiful Chinese
traditional paintings at the end of the leaves.
Dissertations about China, the two earliest in Sweden were written in Uppsala by
Locnaeus, Jonas Matthiae, (1671- 1754) Murus Sinensis brevi dissertation adumbrates, Uppsala 1694
Roland, Erik, (1675-1754) De magno Sinarum imperio, Holmiae, 1697. (Diss. Uppsala)
Gouaches/Watercolours describing tea cultivation in China (12 pictures) from around 1800 to around 1850.
Gouaches/Watercolours describing porcelain production in China (12 pictures) from around 1800 to around 1850 (see below).
Chinese Zoology and Botany from 1847
Donated by Stenius. Shelfmark: O/ Okat. 86 Ligg.fol.
Honzo zufu (Illustrated botanical catalogue).
Iwasaki, Kan’en, 1786-1842 (author)
Consists of 50 volumes that can be seen here, Shelfmark : Utl. Rar. 159
Denjim kaishu Hokusai manga. (The collected drawings of Hokusai).
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
Hon 1-14 , [Edo] , [s.a.]
Shelfmark: Utl. Rar. 161
Nihon sankai meibutsu zue 1-5 (Illustrated Japanese local adventures from land to sea).
Hasegawa, Mitsunobu, 1721-1755 (artist)
Hirase, Tessai, active 1748-1768 (publisher creator)
On Alvin, it has Shelfmark: Litt. Japansk (see here)
Shells illustration with haiku in Umi no sachi, part 2  by artist Katsuma, Ryusui (1711-1796)
Thunberg, Carl Peter, 1743-1828 Flora Japonica
Caroli Petri Thvnberg … Flora Iaponica sistens plantas insvlarum Iaponicarvm secvndvm systema sexvale emendatvm redactas ad XX classes, ordines, genera et species cvm differentiis specificis, synonymis pavcis, descriptionibvs concinnis et XXX IX iconibvs adiectis – Lipsiae in bibliopolio I.G. Mülleriano, 1784.c 1784
The Swedish botanist and physician Carl Peter Thunberg (1743–1828), a pupil of Linnaeus, was the only European who visited and published his observations of Tokugawa Japan in the eighteenth century. On his way to and from Japan, Thunberg, travelling as a surgeon with the Dutch East India Company, visited territories in the Dutch colonial empire: the Cape Colony, Batavia (present-day Jakarta), and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Wherever he went, he assembled huge collections, above all of natural history specimens. Thanks to his collections and support from influential gentlemen, he made a spectacular career at the University of Uppsala upon his return. He published a ground-breaking work on Japanese plants, Flora Japonica (1784), and a travel account that was translated into several languages. (from Carl Peter Thunberg, botanist and physiscian by Marie-Christine Skuncke, Uppsala: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, 2014 p. 376 )
Thunberg brought a lot of books and other material from his travels and so also from his Japanese visit back to Uppsala.
There is not only material on Alvin, but also in other catalogues, which can be found here.