Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




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A brief commentary prepared by Fred W. Jenkins, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Collections and Operations, University Libraries, on the following work:

Mahayana Sutra of the Buddha: Boundless Life
China, early 8th century; Scroll from the Dunhuang caves; in Tibetan language


Part of the canonical Buddhist translation literature, this complete four-panel scroll was handwritten in Tibetan script and character by a single scribe, its contents translated from Sanskrit between 600 and 700 AD. Hidden in a cave sealed in the eleventh century to protect it and other important texts from military conflict and civil strife, it lay undisturbed until the early twentieth century. The high quality of the paper and the printing on only one side suggest that the scroll was created with a distinguished purpose in mind, likely used ritualistically in a temple or shrine in a life-prolongation context.

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‘Mahayana Sutra of the Buddha: Boundless Life’


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