PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA; DAIHANNYAHARAMITA-KYO. VOL. 174

MS 2450
MS Short Title PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA; DAIHANNYAHARAMITA-KYO. VOL. 174.
Text PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA; DAIHANNYAHARAMITA-KYO. VOL. 174. TRANSLATED FROM SANSKRIT BY XUAN ZANG
Description MS in Chinese on paper, Japan, 8th c., 1 scroll of 16 sheets (complete), 25x793 cm, 29-31 columns per sheet, 17 characters in Chinese script.
Binding Japan, 20th c., wooden box
Context Other volumes in this set of 600 rolls are vols. 514 and 522, both in the Collection of the Kyoto National Museum (Registered Important Cultural Property). Vol. 244 is at Harvard University Art Museums (Arthur M. Sackler Museum).
Provenance 1. Buddhist temple of Kofukuji, Nara (1232-); 2. Kunitama Shinto Shrine, Osaka; 3. Sam Fogg cat. 19(1998):153.
Commentary This collection of scriptures focuses on the doctrine of emptiness and the illusory nature of life. In Japan, from the Nara Period (710-794) onwards, this work, containing a total of 5 million Chinese characters, was read from beginning to end in Buddhist rituals as a prayer for abundant harvest and for the protection of the state from pestilence. Later priests sped up the reading process by only reading out the title or one section of each roll. This 600-volume set was produced over a 15-year period beginning about 730, a time when Emperor Shomu (701-756), who had particular faith in this sutra, was promoting the ceremonial reading and copying of many sets. Each volume was commissioned by a member of a small group of court officials. In 1232, this set was included in a large number of 8th and 9th c. transcriptions of the Greater Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom that were assembled in the monastery of Kofukuji in Nara, and carefully punctuated in red ink by the monk Eion (1167-after 1233), who was in charge of sutra storage. Later they were donated to the Kunitama Shrine near Osaka, the tutelary Shrine of the Kii family.
Place of origin Japan
Dates 8th c.

Location