For the first time the periodical "Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka" was published in 1970 in an annular format. Ten volumes of the annual prepared by staff of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (then called the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences) were published from 1970 till 1987. The periodical contained articles studying the principles of publication of written sources of the Orient,  as well as analyzing literary  and historical writings. Publications and descriptions of manuscripts, reviews of manuscript and archival funds were presented there too.

In 2004, the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences resumed publishing "Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka" as an academic journal; in 2015 the English version of the journal appeared; since 2016 it has been published 4 issues per year.

The topics and goals of the journal "Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka" are in line with academic periodicals of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published throughout its history. The Institute was founded in 1818 as an Asiatic Museum, and its first academic journal "Mélanges Asiatiques" was published in French in 1849. Later, the Institute published “Proceedings of the Collegiums of Orientalists”, “Proceedings of the Institute of Oriental Studies”, “Academic Proceedings”, "Brief presentations", “Written Monuments and Problems of the Cultural History of the Peoples of the Orient”, etc.

The main theme of the journal "Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka" remains the study of the written heritage of the peoples of the Orient (manuscripts, xylographs, early printed editions), as well as problems of source study, historiography, codicology, paleography, textology. An important mission of the journal is to introduce new material into the scientific use, to provide the scientific community with information about written monuments with new data on the history, philology and philosophy of countries and peoples of the Orient. The edition is intended for orientalists - historians, philologists, philosophers and researches of related areas.

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