The history of the library
The Library of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts was founded in 1919 by its first director, Zoltán Felvinczi Takács, after Ferenc Hopp left his villa to the state in his will along with a collection of Asian art consisting of some 4,000 items. Ferenc Hopp envisioned an institution which would operate not only as a museum of Far Eastern art but as a research institute too, an indispensible part of which would be a reference library that would not only foster research but also cater to the interests of the public at large.
Following its establishment the library was supervised and supported by the Museum of Fine Arts. However, in 1948 the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts became an affiliated branch of the Museum of Applied Arts, and from that point on the library operated in an organised framework run with an annual budget. In 2014 our institution again came under the curatorship of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Zoltán Felvinci Takács founded the library’s collection through his personal ties with renowned members of the international scholarly community. The library’s holdings were increased through donations of books and estates from patrons with an interest in the Orient as well as by regular purchases. The core of the holdings is formed by Ferenc Hopp’s private library consisting of some 70 documents. This was augmented by physician and orientalist Dr Antal Velits (1855-1915), who donated the greater part of his library on Asiatic linguistics, by works on Oriental art by art historian Zoltán Felvinczi Takács (1880-1964), as well as by the estate of the renowned orientalist, archaeologist and art historian Dr Tibor Horváth (1910-1972), which was mostly purchased in Japan. The National Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts transferred its library holdings on Asiatic arts to the Library of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts in 1937.
Valuable, homogenous units of our library holdings are formed by the books of Ferenc Hopp; the art collection of Aurél Stein (1862-1943), i.e. Sir Aurél Stein, the world famous researcher of Inner Asia, archaeologist, linguist and member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Dr Tibor Horváth’s books on Japanese art; as well as by the collection from the private library of Ervin Baktay (1890-1963), art historian, orientalist and painter. A collection of the exhibition catalogues occupies a prominent place in the holdings.
Only approximately 3% of the library’s holdings is comprised of documents in Hungarian as the greater part is made up of literature in foreign languages: every European language, as well as a significant number of Asiatic languages.