Tokyo, Seikado Bunko Art Museum

Hyakumanto Darani Facsimile Edition

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The Hyakumantō Darani, also known as "One Million Pagodas and Dharani Prayers", is one of the first recorded examples of printing in the world, as well as the earliest known use of woodblock printing in Japan. The rolls were commissioned in 764 by Empress Shōtoku, who ordered that one million wooden pagodas, containing a printed scroll, be distributed around the country to give thanks for the suppression of the Emi rebellion.

The prayers, printed on hand-made Japanese paper that was placed inside the pagoda, are entitled Kompon, Jishinin, Sorin, and Rokudo, and celebrate peace. The lengthy printing process was completed in year 770. The scrolls contain a Buddhist prayer called Vimalasuddhaprabhasa mahadharani sutra (Mukujōkō daidarani kyō).

The wooden pagodas measure about 21.4 cm in height and consist of three stories. They were dedicated to the ten major temples of the time (Sadai-ji, Daian-ji, Shitennô-ji  Yakushi-ji, Tôdai-ji, Hôryu-ji, Sûfuku-ji, Kôfuku-ji, Genkô-ji, and Kôfuku-ji). They are made of different kinds of wood: cypress for the base, and Katsura tree for the top section.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Hyakumanto Darani": Hyakumanto Darani facsimile edition, published by Maruzen-Yushodo Co. Ltd., 1997

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Roll description compiled by Facsimile Finder Staff.

Hyakumanto Darani

Tokyo: Maruzen-Yushodo Co. Ltd., 1997

  • Commentary (Japanese) by Yoneyama, Torataro
  • Limited Edition: 125 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Hyakumanto Darani: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

Hyakumanto consists of four prayers of Mukujoko-kyo and a small three-story wooden pagoda. These prayers, entitled Kompon, Jishinin, Sorin and Rokudo from Darani-kyo, were printed on Japanese hand-made paper (washi) and were placed inside the pagoda which is about 21.4 cm height. The base of the pagoda was made of Hinoki wood (cypress tree) and the top section was made of Katsura wood (Katsura tree).

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