The World’s Earliest Dated and Printed Book

Explore the Diamond Sutra, the World's Earliest Dated, Printed Book

The Diamond Sūtra, printed on May 11, 868, resides at The British Library. (Image: The British Library, Community Domain)

Like its namesake stone, the Diamond Sūtra was found underground. In 1900, a Buddhist monk in the Gansu province of China stumbled upon a sealed entrance primary to a series of 492 connected caves. The website had been shut off to the globe due to the fact the start out of the 11th century. Once a key Buddhist heart, the location is acknowledged as Mogao (“Peerless”) Caves or the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. Among the treasures recovered from the caves is the Diamond Sūtra—the earliest dated, printed e-book in existence.

The Diamond Sūtra is a scroll stretching about 16 toes prolonged. It was produced by means of historic Chinese woodblock printing, a craft that long predated the European printing push. A solitary woodblock would be used to print, and then the specific pieces of the scroll were connected into just one. The start off of the scroll, or frontispiece, is an elaborate print of the historical Buddha with his disciple Subhūti and other figures collected below trees. The text is a sacred just one, and while this duplicate is the earliest extant, quite a few others were being printed around the intervening hundreds of years.

The e book is also dated. A colophon at the end reads: “On the 15th day of the 4th month of the 9th year of the Xiantong reign period, Wang Jie had this designed for universal distribution on behalf of his two parents.” On the Western calendar that is Might 11, 868. Wang Jie seemingly financed the scroll’s generation by artisans in honor of his mother and father. At some stage, it made its way to the caves, wherever it may well have been examined just before it was sealed away for hundreds of yrs. Soon after the caves’ unsealing in 1900, the guide was taken out. It was introduced to England by Sir Aurel Stein, an Englishman touring overseas, in 1907. The scroll is now conserved and preserved in The British Library and can be explored in its entirety on the web.

The Diamond Sūtra is an ancient scroll known to be the oldest finish, printed, and dated e-book in existence.

Explore the Diamond Sutra, the World's Earliest Dated, Printed BookExplore the Diamond Sutra, the World's Earliest Dated, Printed Book

The textual content arrives from a series of Buddhist Caves which were being sealed for hundreds of many years. (Image: The British Library, Community Domain)

It was found amongst other precious Buddhist manuscripts in historic caves sealed for hundreds of a long time.

Explore the Diamond Sutra, the World's Earliest Dated, Printed BookExplore the Diamond Sutra, the World's Earliest Dated, Printed Book

The scroll is the earliest printed example of a dated, printed ebook. (Image: The British Library, Public Area)

h/t: [Open Culture]

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