Leiden University Libraries Digital Collections

Photography Kern Institute

From the moment the Kern Institute opened its doors in 1925, photographs and slides were collected besides printed works and other kinds of special materials (manuscripts, drawings and maps, etc.), for the purpose of research and education pertaining to art, archaeology and material culture of Central, South and Southeast Asia. At the time the library and the Special collections of the Institute were moved to the University Library (2010), the collection counted c. 70,000 sepia-toned and black-and-white photographs and c.100,000 slides. The greater part of the photographs taken between 1870 and 1990 show in situ monuments, excavations and artefacts by the Archaeological Survey of the Netherlands East Indies and of Indonesia (Oudheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indië / Dinas Purbakala Indonesia) and the Archaeological Survey of India. Moreover, landscapes, townscapes and group portraits of early nineteenth and twentieth-century commercial photographers are also part of the collection, which allows the study of photography as a medium in Asia.