The practice of printing Buddhist scriptures on the reverse of letters from the deceased to pray for the repose of his or her soul became common from the end of the Heian period (late 12th century) onward. The scrolls shown here contain the text of a Buddhist sutra called Myōhō renge-kyō (Lotus sutra). They are printed on the reverse of letters sent from Daitō Genchi, the second abbot of Kakuon-ji Temple in Kamakura. It is believed that Hōjō Sadatoki’s wife, to whom the letters are addressed, and some others commissioned these printings. Hōjō Sadatoki was a regent of the Kamakura shogunate. The date of creation is unknown, but it is thought to be around the end of the Kamakura period (early 14th century). The cover, inside cover, and body are gilded with gold or silver leaf and randomly sprinkled with beautiful gold powder. The back of the paper is decorated with a cloud-form design. The work is a significant example of finely decorative sutras, adorned with hexagonal crystals on the scroll head.
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8 scrolls ; 24.8 centimeters
Last updated: December 12, 2017