Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: hyl00002

Naxi manuscripts collection, 1826-1910 and undated Digital


Collection of pictographic manuscripts, used in performing religious rituals by the Naxi community.


  • 1826-1910 and undated.

Language of Materials

Manuscripts in Naxi language.


1 collection (598 manuscripts, 3 funereal scrolls)

This collection contains 598 ceremonial manuscripts and 3 funereal scrolls written in a pictographic script. Often, during the religious rituals, the edges of the books are burned, resulting in damage to the manuscript. Only 21 of the manuscripts are dated, the earliest being from 1826 and the latest from 1910.

Biographical / Historical

The Naxi (Chinese people) are an ethnic minority in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province in China, near the borders of Tibet and Burma. The population is estimated to be around 250,000, and made up largely of farmers and traders. The Naxi language is the only remaining living pictographic language today.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Original materials were acquired by Joseph Francis Charles Rock (1884-1962) and Quentin Roosevelt (1919-1948). The Harvard-Yenching Library's holdings (510 from Joseph Rock and 88 from Quentin Roosevelt together with three long funereal scrolls) were acquired by Harvard-Yenching Institute in 1945.

Existence and Location of Copies

The Naxi manuscripts collection was digitized with support from the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

Related Materials

Additional Naxi manuscripts are held by the Library of Congress.

General note

Hollis Number: 990115029730203941

Processing Information

Processed by: Li Lin-ts'an and Zhu Baotian

Cataloged in HOLLIS as 11502973.

Naxi manuscripts collection: A finding aid.
Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

2 Divinity Ave.
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-3327