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Tibetan Dragon Buddhist Canon (binding)

Anonymous1669

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan

Kangyur, literally meaning “the translation of the Buddha’s words”, is a Tibetan Buddhist canon that consists of scriptures of sūtra and vinaya (monastic codes). The compilation was commissioned by the Grand Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang, grandmother of Emperor Kangxi. The project started in the sixth year of the Kangxi era and was completed two years later, in 1669. This manuscript used to be housed in Xianruo Guan in the Forbidden City. It is the most magnificent of the many Kangyur manuscripts transcribed during the Qing dynasty and also the one that receives the most attention.

This voluminous collection of manuscripts has the same order and divisions as the Yongle Kangyur, completed in Nanjing in the eighth year of the Yongle era in the Ming dynasty (1410).

The collection is divided into six parts by order of importance: Tantra (esoteric teachings), Prajñāpāramitā (perfection of wisdom), Ratnakūṭa (accumulation of jewels), Avataṃsaka (flower ornament), Mdo sde (miscellaneous Sūtra), and Vinaya (monastic codes). A total of 1,057 Buddhist texts are included in the manuscript.

Each volume measures 87.5 cm in length and 33 cm in width and contains 300 to 500 leaves. The collection consists of Tibetan script in gold ink on the unique Tibetan Blue Paper (mthing shog).

The inner front and back protective cover planks are decorated with seven polychrome painted Buddhist miniatures and inlaid with jewelry, covered by protective curtains embroidered in five colors—red, blue, green, white, and yellow.

A piece of silk khata is placed on the wrapped manuscript, then wrapped by three cloths: a piece of plain yellow silk, a piece of yellow wadded cloth, and then a double-layered yellow satin woven with flower patterns. After bundling by a seven-toned wadded bundling strap, the whole set is further sandwiched by two outer protective cover planks, then bound by a five-toned bundling strap, and finally wrapped with a yellow wadded quilt.

Details

  • Title: Tibetan Dragon Buddhist Canon (binding)
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date Created: 1669
  • Medium: Gold ink on indigo paper; Wood planks with gold, pigment and gems

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