Item ID: 9733 Woodblock-printed scroll of Vol. 224 of the Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom or Mahaprajnaparamitasutra, entitled in Japanese reading: “Daihannya haramitta kyo kan dai nihyaku nijuyon.”. SUTRA OF PERFECTION OF WISDOM: KASUGA-BAN.
Woodblock-printed scroll of Vol. 224 of the Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom or Mahaprajnaparamitasutra, entitled in Japanese reading: “Daihannya haramitta kyo kan dai nihyaku nijuyon.”
Woodblock-printed scroll of Vol. 224 of the Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom or Mahaprajnaparamitasutra, entitled in Japanese reading: “Daihannya haramitta kyo kan dai nihyaku nijuyon.”

Woodblock-printed scroll of Vol. 224 of the Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom or Mahaprajnaparamitasutra, entitled in Japanese reading: “Daihannya haramitta kyo kan dai nihyaku nijuyon.”

19 joined sheets, mostly 23 columns per sheet, 17 characters per column. Scroll (263 x 8301 mm. & front endpaper 230 mm.), wooden roller. [Nara: 12th-14th century].

A fine, early printed sutra, which we are unable to date. It is clearly a kasuga-ban, printed on highest-quality thick paper (gampi or mulberry fibers), with bold, thick strokes, using black sumi ink, typical of kasuga-ban printings, a term for publications of the Nara monasteries in general.

The Mahaprajnaparamitasutra is a massive compilation of scriptural literature said to have been preached by the Buddha in four different places to 16 discrete assemblies. It includes seminal works such as the Prajnaparamita in One Hundred Thousand Lines and the Diamond Sutra. “This recension of the scripture is only extant in a Chinese translation made in six hundred rolls by Xuanzang and his translation team between the years 660 and 663. Xuanzang’s recension is by far the largest of all the prajnaparamita scriptures in the Chinese Buddhist canon…The Mahaprajnaparamitasutra also often holds pride of place as the first sutra found in many traditional East Asian Buddhist scriptural canons.”–Buswell & Lopez, eds., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, p. 505.

The translator of the Perfection of Wisdom, Xuanzang (596?-664), was a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, monk, scholar, and patriarch of the Chinese Yogacara tradition. Along with Kumarajiva (344-413), Xuanzang was one of the two most influential and prolific translators of Indian Buddhist texts into Chinese. In 627, he embarked on an epic journey to India, where he studied Sanskrit, and returned to China in 645 with over 600 Sanskrit manuscripts in his luggage, along with images, relics, and other artifacts. Settling in the Tang capital of Chang’an, he established a translation bureau, where he oversaw a team of monks who transcribed the texts and, in the process, made translations, polished the renderings, clarified texts, and certified both their meaning and syntax.

A fine and fresh copy. There is some worming touching characters throughout, but we do not find it offensive. Some sporadic discoloring at the beginning of the scroll.

❧ K.B. Gardner, “Centres of Printing in Medieval Japan: late Heian to early Edo period” in British Library Occasional Papers 11. Japanese Studies (ed. by Yu-Ying Brown), London: 1990, p. 159–”The term Kasuga-ban became used more loosely, in a wider sense, to denote publications of the Nara monasteries in general, not only of the Kofukuji. The printing of Kasuga-ban in this broader sense flourished throughout the Kamakura period and up to the end of Muromachi (ca. 1570).” Mizuno, Buddhist Sutras. Origin, Development, Transmission, pp. 178-79.

Price: $8,500.00

Item ID: 9733