<p style='text-align: justify;'>This book—in form of a scroll—is not just a text but a prestige object: one scroll in a case, with one wooden roller. Woodblock-printed; ink on paper on linen, the paper being glued upon the linen.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The text on the scroll is an excerpt of the much longer Huayan jing 華嚴經, or Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Adornment Sutra), a foundational text of the Huayan school of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. The sutra describes an infinite cosmos, the interdependency of all phenomena, and how to achieve Buddhahood.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> A thumb index, just as in a typical Chinese book, runs through the scroll, with smallish characters repeating ‘華嚴經卷五’ [Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter Five]. Written in literary Chinese, the text is one of countless Buddhist translations from Sanskrit and other languages. The Indian monk Buddhabhadra produced the first translation in 418-420 CE, about 300 years after the original was written.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> While this scroll’s colophon claims that it was printed during the Ming era, this does not naturally mean that this material artefact originates from the Ming. It could well be a Qing reprint of a scroll originally printed in the Ming.</p>
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