Europe - France

Bibliothèque du musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet
-- Phase 1 --


Museum Home Page: Musée Guimet


6, place d’Iéna 75116 Paris, France


Masako Hasegawa-Sockeel
Bibliothécaire spécialisée pour la langue Japonaise
Tel: +33 (1) 56 52 53 28
Fax: +33 (1) 56 52 53 54
Cristina Cramerotti
Conservateur en chef
Tel: +33 (1) 56 52 53 24
Fax: +33 (1) 56 52 53 54

Size of collection

Antiquarian Japanese material(including maps): approx.1300 titles (approx 5000 volumes)
The library does not hold prints (including ukiyoe and nikuhitsuga) and hanging scrolls which form part of the Japanese art collection and fall under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Section. Enquiries regarding these materials should be addressed to the curator of the Japanese Section.

Collection description

The core of the collection is formed byBuddhist texts from the early Edo Period (17th-18th centuries) and illustrated books from the late Edo and Meiji Periods (mid-18th century-early 20th century).Apart from Buddhist works there was no systematic, subject-based collecting.
However, as might be expected in the library of an art museum there are comparatively large numbers of picture albums (gafu) and copybooks (edehon). The collection also includes topographical works (meisho zue), illustrated books, kusazōshi, pattern books (hinagatabon), historical works, poetry anthologies, dictionaries, war tales, essays etc. Among the artists and authors represented are: Hokusai, Katsukawa Shunshō, Nishikawa Sukenobu, Harunobu, Hiroshige, Kyōsai, Bunpō, Kyōden, Bakin and Tanehiko. Recent donations of botanical works are classed as rare books.

Access to bibliographic data

A )Online catalogues

A joint catalogue of the libraries of national museums (Catalogue collectif des bibliothèques des musées nationaux) has been constructed under the auspices of the Direction des Musées de France. Search screens are in French only. Chinese, Japanese and Korean scripts are not displayed in the catalogue, all records appearing in romanised form. A few early Japanese books are included in the catalogue but many have incomplete records. There is no independent catalogue of early Japanese books.
The joint catalogue can be accessed from the Guimet Museum’s homepage

Within the library there is a card catalogueof early Japanese books (especially ehon). Compiled before the Second World War this joint catalogue covers the collections of three institutions: the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the library of the Musée des arts decoratifs, and the Bibliothèque d’art et d’archéologie of Paris University. The Bibliothèque d’art et d’archéologie no longer exists and its collections having been transferred to the Jacques Doucet Collection of INHA (Institut national d' histoire de l' art)

How can researchers gain access to the material?

Readers are required to complete an application form giving details of items they wish to consult and to present it at the reception desk. For items classified by the library as rare books application must be made in advance by letter, fax or e-mail to the contact person named above.

History of the collections

The core of the collection is formed by over 1,000 volumes of Buddhist works bought in Japan by the founder of the Guimet Museum, Emile Guimet, during a tour of the Far East in 1876. Subsequently, items purchased from collectors in France and donations from Japanese with whom Guimet had contacts (interpreters, monks, students etc.) were added so that by the beginning of the 20th century almost three-quarters of the present collection had been acquired. The collection has continued to grow through donations and bequests from benefactors.

For example, Imaizumi Yūsaku, who was involved with Okakura Kakuzō and others in the establishment of Tokyo School of Art and who later became Director of the Art Department of the Imperial Museum, worked at the Guimet Museum at the end of the 19th century organising the oriental art objects. He donated 26 works, mainly Buddhist texts and dictionaries, in 168 volumes to the Guimet.

In 1985 the Library received a donation of 31 botanical works in 189 volumes from Mme Louise Andrieu, a descendant of Ludovic Savatier, a naval doctor who had been stationed in Yokosuka in the mid-19th century. Among these were: “Honzō zukan” 「本草図譜」 (1830) by Iwasaki Kan'en = 岩崎灌園, “Honzō kōmoku” 「本草綱目」 (1714?) written by Li Shih-chên = 李時珍 and edited by Ino Jakusui = 稲生若水, and “Kai” 「花彙」 (1765) by Shimada Mitsufusa = 島田充房 and Ono Ranzan = 小野蘭山.

Select bibliography of publications about the collections (books, articles)

  • 高埜利彦(Takano Toshihiko) 「フランス国立ギメ東洋美術館所蔵の日本近世史料」学習院大学文学部研究年報 第34輯抜刷 (昭和62年度)pp. 55-102 [The annual Collection of Essays and Studies, Faculty of Letters, Gakushuin University, Vol. XXXIV (1987) pp. 55-102 ]
  • Francis Macouin「Activités du musée Guimet, Bibliothèque」Arts Asiatiques : Annales du musée Guimet et du musée Cernuschi, Tome XL, 1985 pp.123-124
  • Keiko Omoto 「Quelques études préliminaires sur un recueil de poésie (WAKA) conservé á la bibliothéque du Musée Guimet 」Le Vase de béryl ; études sur le Japon et la Chine, en hommage á Bernard Frank, Arles, 1997 pp.261-270
  • 秋山光和 編集「世界の美術館 14 ギメ東洋美術館」講談社 1968年
  • 山口桂三郎著「浮世絵聚花 ギメ東洋美術館 パリ国立図書館」小学館 1980年
  • 楢崎宗重 編著「秘蔵浮世絵大観 六 ギメ美術館I」講談社 1990年
  • 楢崎宗重 編著「秘蔵浮世絵大観 七 ギメ美術館II」講談社 1990年
  • 平山郁夫、小林忠 編著「秘蔵日本美術大観 第六巻 ギメ美術館」講談社 1994年
  • 文化財保存修復学会 (The Japanese Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property) 編集・発行「海外所在日本美術品調査報告6 パリ国立東洋美術館 絵画」1996年
  • The International Research Center for Japanese Studies, ed. << Index of Ukiyo-e in Western Collections : Report of Japanese Art Abroad Research Project vol. 6 >> Nichibunken Japanese Studies Series II 1996

Is reproduction of the material permitted ?

Books can only be copied if they are in a good state of preservation. Photography is possible. Special permission is required if the photographs are used for other than academic purposes.
Photography and publication of photographs of ukiyoe are under the jurisdiction of La Réunion des musées nationaux to whom application should be made. There is a charge for this service.