Göttingen State and University Library holds tens of thousands of titles in the different Mongolian and Manchu-Tungus languages. In addition there are Mongolian and Oirat manuscripts and prints, mainly from the 18th century, in the v. Asch collection, which holds also rich material from Siberia and the Middle East.
Most of the Tungus and palaeoasiatic peoples in Siberia and Manchuria have no tradition of written literature before the 1920s. The Manchu and their forefathers the Jurchen are the one major exception, making it possible to trace the Manchu language back to the 12th century AD.
The southern Tungus language of Manchu has been the official language in the China of the Qing Empire until 1911 since the Manchu conquered China around 1644, and earlier in the Manchurian Khanat. Huge amounts of Manchu language material is preserved in the archives of China and is now gradually published in large facsimile editions, which we acquire selectively. Some collections also contain Chinese and even Russian material for the later years of the Qing Dynasty. Older literature of the Sibo from Qing- and Republican times has been reissued in facsimile prints, e. g. “Sibe uksura i gukure tende isinaha julen cagan”.
Mainly Chinese language titles for the history and culture of Manchuria are also collected. Manchu literature has always been ridiculed as not original translation literature from Chinese. Apart from the huge amount of Manchu archive material, the Manchu language itself mainly lived on after the fall of the Qing-Dynasty amongst the Sibo in Ili at the modern Kazakh border in western Sinkiang. There are autochton epic works in Manchu by the Sibo like the “Ba na-i ucun” the epic tale of the long treck of the Sibo people from Manchuria to Ili in the 18th century after the second Dzungar war. In Göttingen you can find the twice-weekly Manchu language newspaper from Chabchal/Ili, the Cabcal serkin, since 1980.