The Chinese Buddhist Canon in Japan

Daimin sanzo shogyo mokuroku [Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist Tripitaka, the Sacred Canon of the Buddhists in China & Japan].

Three full-page woodcuts. 20, 33; 27; 20; 28, 2 folding leaves. Four parts in two vols. Large 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers wormed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Japan]: colophon in Vol. II dated 1669.

“It was not until the seventeenth century that the first Japanese version of the Chinese Buddhist canon was printed, and it was rapidly followed by a second. Thanks to the late date, the circumstances of their production and their subsequent fates are better known than for many of the earlier continental editions. The first version was printed using movable type in 1637-48 by Tenkai (1586-1643), a monk who was in the entourage of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. This was done on the orders of Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu, so it was a state project…The second version was printed with woodblocks in 1668-78 by Tetsugen Doko (1630-1682), a prominent Zen monk of the newly arrived Obaku school of Zen, who travelled throughout Japan to collect the necessary funds. The Tetsugen edition was a reprint of the Ming Jiaxing edition, which had reached Japan in the hands of a Chinese monk, Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), who moved to Japan in 1654. More than 2,000 copies were printed and distributed to temples all over Japan. While Tenkai’s version may initially have been a vanity project, the second was clearly undertaken for the purpose of distribution.”–Kornicki, Languages, Scripts, and Chinese Texts in East Asia (2018), p. 237.

Testsugen Doko has added reading marks throughout to assist the Japanese readers.

There is a most interesting bibliographical section, arranging the texts by school. The first part has two fine full-page woodcuts on the verso and recto of the first leaf. The verso shows two disciples standing beside a statue of Buddha. On the recto is another woodcut with poetry within a large decorative frame. On the paste-down at the end of Vol. II is a third woodcut depicting a religious figure surrounded by an aura. These fine woodcuts have had their worming carefully repaired.

Some inoffensive worming throughout, many times well-repaired.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 7014

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