Two of the most important collections are represented here. The Qing Dynasty Textiles bring together more than 200 19th- and early 20th-century embroideries and tapestries.
Many feature animal motifs such as the unicorn, phoenix, crane and lion, while dragons are depicted with three, four or five claws according to the rank of the wearer.
Most of this collection was acquired by Aldred Barker (1868-1964), the university's third professor of textile studies, and his son during a visit to China in the 1930s, although other items had been donated by students earlier in the century.
The basis of the Kashmir Shawl Collection was a gift from Sir Michael Sadler (1861-1943), who served as chairman of the Calcutta University Commission before he became a legendary vice-chancellor at Leeds from 1911 to 1923.
The centenary of his arrival is being celebrated in a number of events, including an exhibition titled Sadler and the Shawls, at St Wilfrid's Chapel until 30 March 2012.
Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: email@example.com.