Kegon-kyō (Avataṃsaka-sūtra), Vol.70

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Kegon-kyō (Avataṃsaka-sūtra), Vol.70

calligraphy / Nara

Nara period, 8th century

Handscroll, gold dust on purple paper

H 26.7, L 755.0; 17 papers

1巻

Formerly kept in Tōdai-ji temple, Nara

重要文化財

According to old documents kept in the Shōsō-in treasure house there were many Buddhist sutras written in gold during the Nara period, many of them written on purple paper. In the Heian period, however, sutras were written in gold on deep-blue paper, whereas purple paper was hardly used. Therefore, sutras written in gold on purple paper are the representative type of decorative sutras of the Nara period.
The scroll introduced in this article is the seventieth volume from the set of eighty volumes of the Kegon-kyō (Avataṃsaka sūtra) written in gold between fine silver lines on purple paper. The cover and the core of the scroll and the paper which was attached to the scroll-core are all original pieces which were made in the 8th century. The seal of Tōdai-ji temple is stamped onto the reverse side of the joint part between the cover and the first sheet. An inscription was written in ink by the sutra copyist onto the back of the paper that is attached to the scroll-core. According to this inscription, this sutra scroll was copied at the governmental studio for sutra copying during the mid-Nara period. Judging from the golden letters, which look grave and have an air of tension, this sutra must have been copied by some excellent sutra copyist.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.77, no.57.

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