Past Exhibitions

The Characters of Ancient Sutra Manuscripts
September 13, 2016 - October 2, 2016

In Buddhism, it was believed that the characters making up Buddhist scriptures were sublimated, or transformed, from human words into the words of the Buddha the instant they were transcribed onto paper. Because transcription was such a sacred act, scribes tried to write continuously and correctly when copying sutras. This process was painstaking but it was also filled with beauty and variation. Ancient sutras manuscripts were often copied on beautifully colored papers. The scripts favored for sutras changed according to time period. Such aspects of ancient sutra manuscripts are important not only for the study of Buddhist history but also for the study of calligraphy and art history. This exhibition features precious manuscripts from the Kyoto National Museum’s Moriya Collection, considered to be one of the most significant assemblages of ancient sutra manuscripts in Japan.

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