Sumidera-Shingyo Sutra Scroll (roll)
- Nara period (8th century)
- Kairyuōji Temple - Private collection
- l. 820mm (550mm: sutra), w. 257mm<br />
- Hardwood inner box, protective and decorative sheath, Paulownia outer box
Kairyuōji Temple in Nara lies at what was the eastern most tip of Heijō-kyō, the capital of Japan for most of the Nara Period. It is affectionately known as Sumidera, or Corner Temple. The temple houses a full set of Buddhist scriptures consisting of 5048 scrolls brought from China. The presence of the scriptures led to Kairyuōji Temple functioning as learning or academic temple. Many novice monks traveled to the temple to study and transcribe the sutras found there.
The scroll here is a portion of the “Sumidera-Shingyo” Sutra transcribed at Kairyuōji Temple in the Nara Period as part of the daily studies of a novice monk. Such transcriptions are known as Sumidera-Shingyo Sutras. The scrupulous care devoted to every character by the novice is abundantly evident in this wonderful example of ancient transcription. The entire page has been tailored into a scroll. The faint color on the shaft ends is, like them, original to the Nara period. (It appears that the shaft itself has been replaced.) The descriptive text on the outer, protective box is the work of Nobuo Inokuma, an expert in ancient texts in the Document Depository of the Imperial Household Agency. There is some insect damage visible on the scroll, but no retouches or additions have been made to the text.
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