Ƶٷ of Ismaili Studies (IIS) holds a significant repository of special collections related to the heritage of Ismaili communities and that of other Muslim traditions. These collections include:

  • nearly 3,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Indic and other languages;
  • coins;
  • glass weights;
  • medals and other historical artefacts;
  • photographs and audio-visual materials;
  • rare and special printed materials (including periodicals and magazines);
  • archival collections.

ISCU Online Catalogue

The Ismaili Special Collections Unit (ISCU) has launched in 2021 an online catalogue of special collections housed at the IIS.

Featuring information on a significant number of items, including photographs, artefacts, coins and medals, rare books, manuscripts, archival items and periodicals, the catalogue will enable a wide range of audiences, including researchers and students, to explore heritage materials relating to Ismaili communities online. You can look for:

The IIS holds one of the most significant repositories in the world of materials related to Ismaili communities. The beginnings of this collection can be traced back to the 1930s and 1940s when the Russian scholar and pioneer of modern Ismaili studies, Wladimir Ivanow (1886-1970), together with Mr Chotu Lakhani and other Ismaili scholars, gathered a number of manuscripts for the Ismaili Society in Bombay. These acquisitions have provided the basis for the Institute’s own collection, which has been developed extensively over the years and includes Arabic, Persian and Indic manuscripts. For more information, please see the published catalogues section.

Photographs in print and digital format are another significant part of the IIS special collections. These capture important events related to the heritage of Ismaili communities and that of other Muslim traditions.

A range of printed material from different parts of the world, in Arabic, Persian, and Indic languages, among others, forms part of the IIS special collections. Artefacts, coins, archival items and audio-visual material also form part of this collection.