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Hyakumantō Darani

Hyakumantō Darani [The one million pagodas and Dharani prayers]
Hyakumantō Darani
[The one million pagodas and Dharani prayers]
AD 770
Manuscript book, Japanese-style binding
Printed paper and wooden pagoda-shaped container Japanese Rare Book Collection, Asian Division,
Library of Congress (001.00.01, 001.00.03)


Hyakumantō Darani [The one million pagodas and Dharani prayers] is considered to be the oldest traceable publication in the world whose production date is clearly identified.  In 764, the Empress Shōtoku (718–770) ordered the creation of one million small wooden pagodas, each containing a scroll printed with four Buddhist Dharani sutras.  The pagodas were donated to ten major temples in Nara, Japan.  These three-tiered pagodas were painted with white clay.  It is unclear whether the printing blocks were of wood or metal.

 

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  November 15, 2010
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