Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > East Asian Collections > 18. Da bo re bo luo mi duo jing

18.  Da bo re bo luo mi duo jing (Prajna-paramita sutra). Fenghua xian: Wang gong ci tang, 1162 CE. One volume of six surviving volumes. C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This extremely rare volume was identified by visiting scholar Shen Jin, from Shanghai Municipal Library, in 1987, as one of only six known surviving volumes of the original 600-volume printing of this Buddhist sutra. Printed apparently privately during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), it is believed to be the oldest book in the Chinese collections at Columbia University. The Prajna-paramita sutra is one of the most important sacred books of Mahayana Buddhism, and Chinese translations of Indian sutras were used in the spread of Buddhism-and of the Chinese written language as well-throughout East Asia.

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