The Schøyen Collection is a unique gift to everyone fascinated by the mystery that lies at the origins of religions and cultures. This is the only collection, library or museum that actually has made an attempt to form a collection of the various living and extinct religions of the world, and over a period of time nearly as far back as religion itself. As it widens our knowledge of ancient cultures, societies and individual life, it enhances our understanding of contemporary expressions of faiths.
The Power of Words: Any collection of manuscripts is a sacred and spiritual task. These texts not only originate in the past but also, especially in the case of religious literature, derive their source from the edge of the beyond. They constitute testaments not only of time but also of the spirit. Each discovery of a long-lost text helps push back the curtain of time as well as the veil of eternity. These are more than simply manuscripts. They are literary miracles, providing an immortal library, at once timeless and incorruptible.
Blockprinting on paper started in China in the 7th c, but no examples survive. The oldest surviving printing was found in the Buddhist temple Pulguk-sa, Kyongju, Korea - a small dharani scroll printed 704-751, until then considered the oldest printing in the world. Fourteen examples (81 volumes) of blockprinting and movable type printing from the period 770 to 1442 are selected here out of 152 items.
MS in Futuna on jaw bone of wild boar, Ekasup village, Efaté Island, Republic of Vanuatu, 31 January 2003, 1 jaw with teeth and the 2 tusks, 14x26x15 cm, single column, (10x8 cm), 7+3 lines in capitals slanting to the right by Sifo Seimo.
MS in Newari (text 1) and Sanskrit (text 2) on paper, Nepal, 18th c., 32 ff. concertina-folded, 9x22 cm, single column, (6x16 cm and 8x10 cm), 5-12 lines in Newari script, 49 fine painted miniatures of horses.