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Robert Hans van Gulik collection

Identifier: ubl250

Scope and Contents

The Van Gulik collection contains mostly traditional Chinese and Japanese block prints, but also 19th and 20th century lithographic and typographic prints. There is also a large number of manuscripts. The collection contains about 90 rare books and manuscripts, ten of which are unica. Some large works are contained in wooden boxes, namely the 24 Histories (Hanfenlou 涵芬樓1916 edition) and the Japanese Masahira sōsho 昌平叢書.

The Van Gulik collection is best known for its collection of traditional Chinese fiction, its books on music, including photocopies of books copied by Van Gulik himself, and books on art and literature. Van Gulik made a card catalogue for fiction (C), Music, (D), literature in general (B), but his largest card catalogue is for congshu.


  • 1300-1967
  • Bulk 1600-1960

Language of Materials

Chinese, Japanese, English and other languages

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Hans van Gulik (Zutphen, 1910 – The Hague, 1967) collected books during his stationing as an interpreter and later as a diplomat in Japan (1935-1942; 1948-1951; 1965-1967), China (Chungking, 1943-1946) and Malaysia (1959-1962).


757 titles (excluding titles in congshu); 9549 volumes (including congshu) (77 metre)


Deze verzameling van 757 titels (exclusief congshu), bijeengebracht door de sinoloog en diplomaat R.H. van Gulik (1910-1967), bevat meest Chinese fictie (117), boeken over Chinese muziek (35) en boeken over Chinese kunst en literatuur (500). Zij omvat ook ongeveer 90 zeldzame boeken en handschriften, waaronder ongeveer 10 unica. De boeken zijn grotendeels verworven in Japan en China in de jaren 1935-1967. Veel van de bronnen die Van Gulik gebruikte voor zijn sinologische studies kunnen in deze verzameling worden aangetroffen.


This collection of 757 titles (except congshu), gathered by sinologist and diplomat R.H. van Gulik (1910-1967), contains mostly books of Chinese fiction (117), books on Chinese music (35) and Chinese art and literature (500). It contains also about 90 rare books and manuscripts, about 10 of which are unica. Most of the books were collected in Japan and China in 1935-1967. Many of the sources used by Van Gulik for his sinological studies can be found in this collection.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

A short description and a complete list of the collection can be found in Koos Kuiper, List of books and manuscripts in the Van Gulik Collection (2016). The introduction and catalogue are online available.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired for the Sinological Institute (East Asian Library) from the heirs of Van Gulik in 1977.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In 2016 the collections of the East Asian Library were transferred to Leiden University Library.


This collection is not the entire original collection of Van Gulik. Some books appearing in his card catalogues are missing.


No future additions are to be expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

In 1982 IDC filmed parts of the collection and distributed three sets of microfiches: 1. Folk novels, 2. Literature and fine arts, 3. Music scores and music books. These sets of microfiches are still for sale, currently by Brill Publishers, Leiden. These sets are also available in the library.

Related Materials

Related old Chinese books and manuscripts can be found in the VGK collection, KNAG collection, Go collection and also among the books with shelf mark SINOL.


  • 陳之邁,荷蘭高羅佩,台北:傳記文學出版社,1969 (also contains essays in English)
  • 李美燕,高柏,雷哈諾: 荷蘭高羅佩(R.H. van Gulik)在古代中國雅文化方面的藏書與論著, in: 中國文哲研究通訊》第十八卷三期(2008-09), pp. 143-169.
  • Gao Luopei 高羅佩 – De sinoloog Robert Hans van Gulik in wetenschap en kunst (Koos Kuiper, Leiden University Libraries, 2010) – Online exhibition.
  • 施晔, “荷兰汉学家高罗佩在渝期间交游考” (Robert van Gulik’s Social Contacts in Chongqing), 上海师范大学学报( 哲学社会科学版) 第4 1 卷第3 期 Journal of Shanghai Normal University (Philosophy & Social Sciences Edition) Vol. 41, No. 3 (May, 2012), pp. 117-29
  • Barkman, C.D., and H. de Vries-van der Hoeven, Een man van drie levens : biografie van diplomaat/schrijver/geleerde Robert van Gulik, Amsterdam: Forum 1993
  • (Dutch and English website about Robert van Gulik, his life and his works)
  • Biografisch portaal (Gulik, Robert Hans van)


The material can be requested in the online catalogue. It can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The shelf mark of the Van Gulik collection is SINOL. Gulik.

Collection guide of the Robert Hans van Gulik collection (1300-1967)
Collectie Robert Hans van Gulik
Koos Kuiper, 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 5 August 2016: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857