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August Friedrich Rudolf Hoernle (1841–1918) was a Central Asian scholar and Sanskritist. From 1895 onwards, he received several consignments from agents of the Government of India who were gathering manuscripts and other materials in an official capacity.

Hoernle acted as an advisor and was in charge of deciphering all the documents in Brahmi script when he worked as Principal of the Calcutta Madrasah in India, and manuscripts were still forwarded to him for examination in England after his retirement in 1902.

Altogether the Hoernle Collection at the British Library contains over 2,000 Sanskrit, 1,200 Tocharian and about 250 Khotanese items in addition to a few in Chinese, Persian and Uyghur. There are also several forgeries.

In addition, the collection comprises hundreds of coins, seals, terracottas and pottery, which are now mostly kept at the British Museum, except for a few pieces at the Ashmolean Museum.

Highlights from the collection