Universitätsbibliothek der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen


Comprising 1,900 elements, Oriental manuscripts represent a substantial part of Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen’s manuscript holdings. With over 850 objects, the Indian manuscripts are the largest group of these, followed by approximately 400 Arabic and 300 Ottoman Turkish items. You will find additional manuscripts in Persian, Armenian, Hebrew, etc. in the Historical collection.

Collection history

Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen mainly acquired its Oriental manuscripts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of the Arabic manuscripts came to the library in 1864 with the purchase of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein’s (1851−1905) third manuscript collection. This collection was the last and also smallest that Johann Gottfried Wetzstein sold to a German library. It comprises about 170 manuscripts of various content in addition to a large number of Qurʾān fragments, including the one with the classmark MA VI 165 that attracted the attention of a wide (specialist) audience in 2014.


The manuscripts of the Wetzstein collection were catalogued by Christian Seybold (1859–1921) and Max Weisweiler (1902–1968). Another catalogue of “Oriental manuscripts“ was compiled by the famous Orientalist Heinrich Ewald (1803–1875):

You can find Oriental manuscripts in the handwritten union catalogue "Verzeichniß der Handschriften der Königlichen Universitätsbibliothek in Tübingen" by Adelbert von Keller (1839). Persian manuscripts are available under the classmark group MA III and Arabic manuscripts are available under Ma VI. The Ottoman Turkish manuscripts (Ma VII) have been catalogued since 2021 as part of a DFG project. Other manuscript holdings are available here .

The union catalogue is continuously digitised. A copy of the union catalogue (as of 1969) in addition to the print catalogues is available for reference at the manuscript reading room.