Home Culture Uncover the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, the World’s Oldest Surviving Full Printed Guide (868 AD)

Uncover the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, the World’s Oldest Surviving Full Printed Guide (868 AD)

Uncover the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, the World’s Oldest Surviving Full Printed Guide (868 AD)


It isn’t straightforward to say which e book is the oldest on this planet, as a result of the reply is dependent upon what, precisely qualifies as a e book. Courting from the yr 868, the Chinese language Diamond Sūtra is called “the world’s earliest dated, printed e book,” the phrases used on the internet web site of the British Library, which owns the factor itself. It was present in northwest China, “in a holy web site known as the Mogao (or ‘Peerless’) Caves or the ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddhas,’ which was a significant Buddhist centre from the 4th to 14th centuries,” its web page explains. “In 1900, a monk named Wang Yuanlu found the sealed entrance to a hidden cave, the place tens of hundreds of manuscripts, work and different artifacts had been deposited and sealed up someday across the starting of the eleventh century.”

Included on this treasure trove, this copy of the Diamond Sutra “was dropped at England by the explorer Sir Aurel Stein in 1907.” With the type of not a-book-as-we-know-it however “seven strips of yellow-stained paper printed from carved wood blocks and pasted collectively to kind a scroll 16 ft by 10. 5 inches huge,” as Jeremy Norman writes at Historyofinformation.com, it might not appear all that spectacular when seen from a distance.

However “its textual content, printed in Chinese language, is likely one of the most vital sacred works of the Buddhist religion,” a dialogue between the Buddha and certainly one of his pupils on the “perfection of perception” and the character of actuality itself, titled for its potential to chop like a diamond blade by the layers of phantasm through which we stay.

Immediately, we’d like not look at the Chinese language Diamond Sutra solely at a distance, for the British Library has made a whole digitization of the scroll accessible on its “Digital Books” web page. For individuals who don’t learn ninth-century Chinese language, essentially the most fascinating factor would be the frontispiece, which, as Norman writes, “exhibits the Buddha expounding the sutra to an aged disciple known as Subhuti. That’s the earliest dated e book illustration, and the earliest dated woodcut print.” The British Library notes that “the finesse within the particulars evidences the truth that printing had already grown right into a mature know-how by the ninth century in China,” lengthy earlier than such different well-known books as Shakespeare’s First Folio and even the Gutenberg Bible. That is an artifact of nice historic worth, mirrored by the diploma of care with which it’s been conserved. However as a believer would possibly add, why deal with the age of a e book when the knowledge it provides is timeless?

Associated content material:

The Oldest Guide Printed with Movable Sort is Not The Gutenberg Bible: Jikji, a Assortment of Korean Buddhist Teachings, Predated It By 78 Years and It’s Now Digitized On-line

Europe’s Oldest Intact Guide Was Preserved and Discovered within the Coffin of a Saint

The Medieval Masterpiece The Guide of Kells Has Been Digitized and Put On-line

Oxford College Presents the 550-Yr-Outdated Gutenberg Bible in Spectacular, Excessive-Res Element

Behold a Digitization of “The Most Stunning of All Printed Books,” The Kelmscott Chaucer

One in every of World’s Oldest Books Printed in Multi-Coloration Now Opened & Digitized for the First Time

Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the e book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here